Only a couple of weeks after securing Zach Parise for the 2011-12 season, the New Jersey Devils will open the campaign without their No. 1 center.
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello confirmed Thursday that Travis Zajac, who finished third on the club last season with 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists), will miss the first month and a half of the season after undergoing surgery to repair his left Achilles tendon. Zajac suffered the injury Wednesday during an off-ice training workout.
"He'll be in a cast for a week and then he'll be in a walking boot right after that," Lamoriello told the Bergen Record. "Then, it's the healing process, which takes around three months."
Possible replacements on the top line include Dainius Zubrus and Patrik Elias. Zajac, New Jersey's first-round pick (No. 20) in 2004, has 249 points (89 goals, 160 assists) in 408 NHL games. The injury means his consecutive games steak will end at 401 contests. He hasn't missed a game since Oct. 24, 2006.
The Devils open the season on Oct. 8 against the Philadelphia Flyers at Prudential Center.