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NEWS

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."

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 52 24 10 5 34
A. Henrique 57 12 20 -2 32
P. Elias 54 10 17 -12 27
S. Gomez 40 5 19 -10 24
T. Zajac 56 10 10 -3 20
S. Bernier 49 10 9 0 19
A. Larsson 46 3 16 5 19
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Greene 64 2 13 7 15
E. Gelinas 44 5 9 -2 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 23 6 .928 2.17
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59