The New Jersey Devils on Tuesday returned top 2015 NHL Draft pick Pavel Zacha to his junior hockey team and acquired forward Brian O'Neill from the Los Angeles Kings for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Zacha, a center, was the sixth pick in June. He had 16 goals and 34 points in 37 games for Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League, where he'll return to play this season.
The return of Zacha to junior hockey meant four players picked in the first round of the 2015 draft made opening-night rosters: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (No. 1), Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres (No. 2), Noah Hanifin of the Carolina Hurricanes (No. 5) and Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche (No. 10). Also, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Daniel Sprong, a second-round pick (No. 46), will start the season in the NHL. Sabres defenseman Brendan Guhle, a second-round pick (No. 51), made the roster but is on injured reserve because of an upper-body injury.
O'Neill, 27, was the MVP of the American Hockey League last season after he had 22 goals and a league-leading 80 points in 71 games. He also had 10 goals and 20 points in 19 playoff games to help Manchester win the Calder Cup.
The 5-foot-9, 173-pound forward has 52 goals and 144 points in 192 AHL games.
Prior to his professional career, O'Neill had 69 goals and 163 points in four seasons at Yale University.
The Devils also assigned defenseman Seth Helgeson to Albany of the AHL. Helgeson played 22 games for the Devils last season and had two assists.