Coming to Boston as a restricted free-agent, former New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha ended up settling on a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Boston Bruins Monday, a term which is generally considered a short deal for a player in his prime.
In his media availability on Tuesday, Zacha, who is 25, explained why a one-year deal made sense for both sides.
“I think we met where we wanted, I got exactly what I wanted for a contract,” he said.
“We talked about it with my agent and with Boston. We made a decision on just focusing on this one year, bringing guys like Bergy and Krejci, having a big chance of having a good year as a team” Zacha said, “I think that was the biggest thing from both sides.”
Despite the one-year contract, Zacha has hopes to stick with Boston for an extended period of time.
“If everything goes well, they know I want to stay in Boston for a long time,” Zacha said.
With the deal, both sides avoided arbitration, which Zacha initially sought, in order to increase his salary for the 2022-23 season with his new team.
Zacha also detailed his excitement about the opportunity to play with fellow Czech players like David Krejci and David Pastrnak, the chance to play for a team with ‘a winning culture’, and to be a part of a roster that was built to be among this year's Stanley Cup contenders.
“I’m just happy to be on a team that’s going to be in the race and a playoff run, that’s something I wasn’t part of the last six years,” Zacha said. “So just being part of this culture, and trying to learn from it and wherever position I’m going to get to play, I’m excited to help the team.”
Zacha said Taylor Hall, who he played with in New Jersey for four seasons, was one of the first people to reach out to him and tell him just how great it’s been playing in Boston.
“We had a really, really good relationship in Jersey and he just seemed excited to be part of the Bruins, especially talking to him during the season. He was like, what a team it is to be part of and what a culture to be a part of. He always said great things about Boston,” Zacha said about his conversations with Hall.
“He really talked great things about Boston, so I’m excited to be here,” Zacha finished.
Zacha, who can play both center and wing, was acquired from the Devils on July 13 in exchange for Bruins center Eric Haula.
He comes to the Bruins after spending the first six years with the New Jersey Devils’ organization, which drafted him 6th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Zacha, who rarely experienced the playoffs in New Jersey, has higher playoff hopes in Boston.
“I wasn't in a playoff run, and now with the team how it looks like we have good players on paper, we just have to put it together and play as a team which I saw especially playing against them that Boston has always played really good team hockey, so I’m just excited to be part of it,” Zacha said.