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Zajac shooting to be an impact player

Saturday, 09.18.2010 / 5:19 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Zajac shooting to be an impact player
Zajac looking to take more strides in 2010-11.
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Travis Zajac might've had a career year in 2009-10, but he's still looking to cement his status as an impact player in the NHL.

Zajac began training camp on Saturday centering Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, a position that could lead to great things for him as he prepares to enter his fifth season.

"I want to be someone who can help the team generate offense every shift, every time I’m on the ice," Zajac said. "I think I’m capable of doing that especially playing with the players we have here. I just want to be a guy you can count on to score goals and help the team offensively and defensively, as well. I think that’s been the strongest part of my game, my defensive play. Hopefully I continue to work on that."

Zajac notched career highs of 25 goals and 67 points last season and doesn't plan on stopping there. He worked on his skating this summer to improve his speed, and visited Minnesota to work with shooting coach Scott Bjugstad, who also trains Parise.

"Everything in hockey is technique: skating, shooting. It makes your shot more fluid, quicker, faster," Zajac said. "It’s like anything, if you work on that technique, your shot’s going to become better, your skating’s going to become better."

Parise would like to see Zajac take better advantage of his shooting opportunities.

"With the way he shoots the puck, I think he should shoot more," Parise said. "He can be guilty of being too unselfish sometimes. If I could shoot the puck like him, I'd be shooting all the time – not that I don't shoot all the time anyway. I'd be shooting a lot more. He's probably got one of the best shots on our team. I think everyone, him included, would want to see him shoot more, and I think he will this year."

Faceoffs are an important part of a center's repertoire, and Zajac's sure to learn a thing or two from assistant coach Adam Oates.

"It’s just something you have to work on," said Zajac, who was the Devils' top faceoff man last year (52.9%). "A lot of it is timing and quickness and strength. For me it’s just working on it every day. I think now that we have Oatesy here, who’s one of the best centermen, faceoff guys and puck moving centermen that’s ever played the game, I’m excited to learn from him and see what kind of tricks he’s got up his sleeve."

Zajac, who turned 25 in May, is the Devils' ironman with 319 straight games played since Oct. 26, 2006. His durability combined with his shot and defensive smarts make him one to watch in 2010-11.

"I've considered him an impact player since his first year," Parise said. "He had a really good rookie year and he's gotten better since then. He's the type of player that doesn't always have to wind up on the scoresheet to be an impact player. He's going to get his points, a lot of assists and a lot of goals, but he does a lot of smart things on the ice that aren't on the scoresheet after the game."

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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