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Healthy Zacha excited for start of camp

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

The NHLPA invited 27 NHL prospects and rookies to its eighth annual National Hockey League Players' Association Rookie Showcase at Mattamy Athletic Center on Monday, including Devils prospect forward Pavel Zacha.

The two-day rookie showcase event was a chance for Upper Deck, the official trading card partner of the NHL and NHLPA, to photograph and film the next wave of talent in their NHL uniform and get their autographs on cards and other memorabilia. The players met with the media on Monday, the final day of the event.

Zacha said he has fully recovered from a hip-pointer injury that kept him off the ice during development camp in July.

"I went back [to the Czech Republic after development camp] and took three or four days off and started working out again and then began going on the ice five times a week and it's been great," Zacha said. "I think I'm all good and ready for rookie camp [which starts Sept. 15]. I'm leaving for New Jersey [on Monday] too, so I'll be there working out for 14 days before camp. My health is good."

Zacha made his NHL debut in last year's season finale. GETTY IMAGES

Zacha (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) was selected No. 6 in the 2015 NHL Draft and signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Devils on Aug. 11, 2015. He had two assists and a plus-4 rating in one game with the Devils last season when he played on a line with fellow countryman Patrik Elias. Zacha said he learned how to deal with injuries.

"I think it's more how to prepare for games and practices," he said. "I never saw NHL players getting ready before practice; stretching and working out. That opened my eyes to watching the pros. This injury happened to me because I didn't stretch that area of my body. My strength coaches have stressed to me what I need to do and I'm confident going through the season because I know what to do in getting ready for practices and games to avoid these injuries in the future."

Zacha had one goal and three points in three games in Albany of the American Hockey League. He also had one goal and three points in five AHL playoff games before he sustained his hip pointer in the second round of playoffs.

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