While the hockey world waits to see if Johnny Gaudreau ends up in the New York metro area, the New Jersey Devils made a trade less than an hour before the opening of NHL Free Agency.
The Devils traded forward Pavel Zacha to the Boston Bruins in exchange for forward Erik Haula. Zacha was a restricted free agent, while Haula has one-year left on his contract before he is set to become a UFA.
Haula had 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 78 games with the Bruins last season as their No. 2 center. He had an additional three points in seven playoff games.
The 31-year-old will join a New Jersey team that will be looking to make it back to the postseason after missing the playoffs for four consecutive seasons. The Devils are also the favorites to land free agent prize Johnny Gaudreau, which would significantly bolster their team.
As of publishing, Gaudreau had not signed with any NHL club.
Zacha had spent his entire career in New Jersey before the trade was made and had 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 70 games last season.
The trade wasn’t the only bit of news out of New Jersey on Wednesday. The Devils added defenseman Brendan Smith on a two-year with an average annual value of $1.1 million, according to Frank Seravalli.
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Smith had spent last season in Carolina and the five previous years in Manhattan with the Rangers.
The Devils also added a new member to the coaching staff, signing Jack Adams Award finalist Andrew Brunette to a three-year deal, according to Kevin Weekes. Brunette helped lead the Florida Panthers to a 58-16-8 record this past season, but was replaced by Paul Maurice in the offseason.