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Zajac shooting to be an impact player

Saturday, 09.18.2010 / 5:19 PM ET / 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."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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