After spending a few months with the New York Islanders to help bolster their playoff run, veteran forward Travis Zajac rejoined the New Jersey Devils on a one-day contract to retire with the team he spent the previous 15 seasons with.
“I was drafted in 2004 and played my first game in 2006. As I stand here nearing the end of 2021, I can only be grateful to sign one last time, and retire as a New Jersey Devil,” Zajac said in a statement. “As a kid playing hockey on the outdoor rinks in Winnipeg, I dreamt about playing in the NHL. Growing up the oldest of four boys, it was the perfect hockey environment. Thanks to my parents unwavering support in our lives, that dream became a reality. Then, I got to live that childhood goal for 15 years with the Devils.”
Zajac appeared in 1,024 games with the Devils, which ranks fourth in franchise history, recording 202 goals (tied for third in franchise history) and 348 assists (fifth) for 550 points (third) over parts of 15 seasons with the team. That included a trip to the Stanley Cup Final with the team in 2012, which they lost to the Los Angeles Kings.
In April, Zajac was traded alongside Kyle Palmieri to the Islanders as they prepared to ramp up for a postseason run while finding forward depth after losing Anders Lee for the season due to injury.
Zajac recorded a goal and an assist in 13 regular-season games and appeared in an additional 14 playoff games for the Islanders, who advanced to the Stanley Cup semifinals for a second-consecutive season. He scored during their second-round series against the Boston Bruins.
With his playing days finished, Zajac will transition to a player development and consulting role with the Devils, while also working to grow the club’s youth hockey initiatives.