Travis Zajac is trading in his red and black for orange and blue as the longtime New Jersey Devil was acquired by the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, along with Kyle Palmieri. The 35-year-old, right-handed center waived his no-trade clause to join the Islanders in an effort to win a Stanley Cup.
Get to know one of the two newest Islanders in this edition of 7 Facts. You can read 7 Facts about Palmieri here.
1. HE'S PLAYED OVER 1,000 GAMES:
One thousand and twenty-four to be exact, all with the Devils, plus an additional 57 playoff games. Drafted by the Devils 20th overall in the 2004 NHL Draft, Zajac's been an NHL mainstay since the start of the 2006-07 season. He's played 70-or-more games in 10 of his 12 full seasons and set New Jersey's all-time ironman streak of 401 straight games, a run that lasted from 2006-2011.Zajac played his 1,000th game on Feb. 21, 2021 and his 1,024 games are 28th among active skaters.
2. HE'S GOT OVER 500 POINTS:
Zajac has 550 career points (202G, 348A), which rank 56th among active skaters. The 35-year-old has hit the 40-point plateau in eight of his 15 seasons, most recently in 2018-19.
Zajac recorded 39 points (14G, 25A) in 71 games against the Islanders in his career, the fourth-most against any opponent in the NHL. Zajac has only recorded more points against the Pittsburgh Penguins (49 in 70 games), Philadelphia (42 points in 66 games) and the Rangers (40 in 70 games), all East Division rivals.
3. HE GOES WAY BACK WITH LOU LAMORIELLO:
Zajac was drafted by Lamoriello back in 2004 and were in the Devils organization together for over 10 years. Lamoriello's familiarity with Zajac, both as a versatile player and a selfless, team-first teammate was a big factor into the decision to bring Zajac to Long Island. Lamoriello said Zajac has always sacrificed individual accolades for the good of the team.
4. HE'S VERSATILE:
Zajac has done a little bit of everything for the Devils this season. The 35-year-old was fourth on the Devils with 18 points (7G, 11A) at the time of the trade, took the second-most faceoffs (509, with a 49.9 FOW%) and led all New Jersey forwards 2:23 SH TOI/GP this season. Zajac was also third on the Devils with 20 takeaways this season and his nine giveaways were the fourth-fewest of Devils who played at least 20 games.
5. HIS FAMILY HAS AN ISLANDERS TIE:
Zajac's brother Nolan played at the University of Denver with Scott Mayfield in the 2012-13 season. All three of Zajac's brothers played NCAA hockey. His brother Kelly played four years at Union College from 2008-12, while his brother Darcy played at North Dakota from 2006-10.
6. HE WILL WEAR NUMBER 14:
Zajac wore number 19 during his 15-year career with the Devils, but that number is retired on Long Island. As a result, Zajac will wear number 14 with the Islanders. He had also previously worn 15 at North Dakota.
7. HE PLAYED COLLEGE HOCKEY AT NORTH DAKOTA:
Zajac played two years of college hockey at the University of North Dakota, going to the Frozen Four in both seasons. He was named to the 2005 NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team, the 2005 NCAA East All-Star Tournament Team and the 2005 WCHA All-Rookie Team. In 89 games Zajac scored 83 points (35G, 48A).
Zajac played with Jonathan Toews, TJ Oshie and Drew Stafford during his time at North Dakota.