Rumours of Zajac to the Leafs not going away

Last week it was reported by Elliotte Friedman that a few managers around the league believed Lou Lamoriello might be interested in reuniting with Travis Zajac, a player he recently signed to a long term deal in Jersey at a heavy price tag. There have been a few rumblings since, with the usual insiders in Toronto being asked to weigh in on a potential deal, but nothing really to chew on in terms of actual names or whatnot. Over on the Jersey side, however, apparently the rumours are getting stronger, with Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger and NJ.com tossing some very interesting targets out there.

Perhaps the most common assumption about potential trade pieces since this Zajac thing has been thrown around is that the Leafs would look to unload a terrible contract like Bozak or Lupul, maybe even both. Phaneuf might be an option there too. 

Zajac has six years left on a 5.75-million dollar cap hit, and his performance, especially with respect to offensive production, has been on a major decline. He’s also on the wrong side of thirty-years-old. The whole thing doesn’t add up unless Toronto is able to shake some of their garbage off as well. But this is where these rumours get weird, from NJ.com:

It is no secret that former Devils GM Lou Lamoriello would like to acquire Zajac, but it is believed that he is discussing several potential deals with Ray Shero. Center Nazem Kadri is one potential piece of a trade, although the Devils would undoubtedly consider a package deal if it could bring James van Riemsdyk to New Jersey.

Alright, first off, I don’t know how much of an insider Chere is, and a few Jersey fans have said he likes to speculate a fair bit, but he does write for a couple legit outlets. 

It’s hard to dream up any kind of trade where the Leafs ship out a player like Kadri or van Riemsdyk with Zajac coming back the other way. Even if the Devils started throwing in picks you can’t really get close to something that makes sense, given how much of a burden Zajac’s contract is. And don’t get me wrong, I’m probably one of a few people who don’t believe Zajac is that bad. Some have been comparing him to Bozak and I think that’s completely unfair. But still, his contract just stinks. You don’t give up real assets for it, let alone young top six players.

Personally I have a hard time believing either of these names would be involved, and there isn’t anything to suggest Shanahan would sign off on something like this. It likely isn’t anything to worry about in terms of the Leafs getting fleeced, but if this Zajac rumour keeps popping up over the next few days or weeks, we’ll know there’s at least something to it – not with Kadri or JVR involved, but just talks in general. Keep in mind Friedman is especially well-connected with the Leafs, and now that this appears to be getting a little traction on the Jersey side as well, it’s at least something to keep an eye on. 

  • TGT23

    When I read this on rotoworld this morning (fantasy football), I very nearly choked on my own breakfast. If this rumour comes to fruition… then what exactly has changed at the top? Seems like the same stupid deal that’s been done around here for 2+ decades.

    Really stupid…

    Maybe Lou is too old for the job… he’s 72 fricken’ years old. My Father is 72 and we don’t let him use the remote control to the TV… (Dennis Miller).

      • It’s a Dennis Miller joke… my Father isn’t actually 72 and I do still let him hold the remote control.

        My point is… is there an age where you just lose touch a little bit? I think Lou is on the cusp of that age.

        I only watch hockey, baseball, football and World Cup football. If you can’t handle that.. then don’t come to my house…. how dare you inpune my clicking?!? Lol!!

  • giproc

    No interest in Zajac with that salary.

    But if we start with the premise that every player has a price for buying and selling, any deal to take him off of NJ’s books would have to include Jersey’s 1st round pick next year and it must NOT be lottery-protected.

    Then they could work out the pieces going the other way even if it meant giving up a key Leaf player since that NJ first rounder could easily be a Top 5 pick.

  • TGT23

    If the Leafs trade JVR for Zajac and don’t also get at least a high pick AND a good prospect I’m going to lose it…

    Some people thought it was a bad idea bringing in all the kids and stat guys but it is Luo, the guy with NHL experience and a history of success, that is about to derail the entire rebuild.

    Hear that?

    It’s the OLD hockey guy, not the NEW ones closing in on ruining the team.

    Congrats, Leafs Sports listened to you, brought Luo in, and he could become the most destructive force in this entire front office.

      • TGT23

        Typing on the phone isn’t easy.

        Secondly, idc if it’s Lou, Luo, or Lew… Point is the same.

        Finally, I clearly say “if”. I left myself wiggle room to go back.

        • Davwud

          Normally when you list things “secondly, finally,etc.” you should say something to start.”To begin, first off”.

          Otherwise you just sound like a fool.

          Typing on the phone is easy, and you would have had to choose the wrong spelling twice seeing as how auto-correct knows that “Luo” isn’t a word.

          Your “if” meant nothing to me, you’re trying to jump all over a respected hockey guy over a stupid rumour…ready to jump away from your opinion when people flame you on it.

          I h8 ur kind of ppl.

          -typed from my phone

    • Davwud

      Well first of all, if you’re gonna trash someone, at least spell their name correctly.

      Secondly, it makes no sense. None at all.

      What I think we have here is two teams, who probably have a good relationship given the ties, leveraging each other to pump up or speed up their own, separate deals.
      This is the type of contract they’re trying to unload, not acquire. Rerun all the things you’ve heard over the last number of months and then ask yourself if this fits with the “Shanaplan.” LOU may be the GM but Shanny’s hands are firmly on the wheel.
      There is not deal to be made here. Not without Dion going the other way.

  • SEER

    Rumours are for old ladies in hair salons… Can’t believe how much creedence is given to what the media says.. Can’t anyone just be patient and wait to hear what management says..?

  • Zacha and maybe Larsson, that’s it. And I would not give up JVR or Kadri for them. 11 goals last yr, woohoo, even if he is good enough on the dside, we are not a Selke trophy away form doing……anything. It sounds like the writer was having a hockey wet dream and decided to write about it. No, way, even if they gave him to us. We still haven’t moved our dead weight from last yr out yet, never mind taking on someone else’s. If this is the kind of crap Lou is going to be pulling off, I’m finding a new team. I don’t want anyone over the age of 26 on this team. Let all the young guys mature a couple at a time till we build a solid base, and the 26 yr old (this yr) can be the leaders at 29-30. If we trade JVR we had better get one hell of a return, especially when you add the player and his contract together, he is a steal.

  • Ultimate Sports'er

    travis zajac, and adam larsson for jvr and bozak + new jerseys third. Imo, for a right dee elite talent for left wing elite talent and two bad contracts in the mix – I think that is fair. Will it happen? No. This isn’t a freaking video game.

    Would be nice to see something like, Polak or Robidas in the mix also. Maybe more so Robidas.

    Travis Zajac, and Adam Larsson for JVR, Bozak, Robidas, and New Jerseys Third.

    Oh my. I would love to see lines like this –

    Rielly – Phaneuf

    Gardiner – Larsson

    Brannan/Hunwick – Polak

  • Ultimate Sports'er

    I don’t see any scenario where I like or agree with A) Taking Zajac @ $5.75M for the next 6 seasons, 6!! B) JVR going the other way in the deal and C) Shanahan signing off on this.

    Through wizardry, voodoo and BS we managed to get rid of Clarkson, why acquire a similar situation again?

    The Leafs worse contracts that fans want moved are Bozak, Lupul, and Robidas – I exclude Phaneuf currently because I think we should see how he fairs under Babcock before shipping him off. Most likely we’d be eating salary if a trade happens today. Our worse is preferred over Zajac in both cap and term. I wouldn’t even do Bozak and Robidas for Zajac straight up!

    Robidas is only $3M and for 2 years, could be bought out worse case next year, or just send him down this year.

    Bozak is only 3 more years. The contract number isn’t Clarkson or Zajac bad in terms of dollars and term, he could probably still be traded before his deal expires.

    Lupul, if he stays healthy, is actually a fairly good contract. The guy is a 55-65 point player so he does produce. Whether he does it in Toronto or is traded, doesn’t matter. I suspect he will be moved if he is healthy because he will be producing.

  • Davwud

    Everyone CALM DOWN!

    All these rumours are not Shanny’s style and he learned from Uncle Lou.
    Did anyone hear a whisper before the Leafs Islanders trade? NOPE.

    Since Shanahan and his management team took over, including Uncle Lou, there has been very limited info coming out of the ACC.
    No whispersn no rumours… Nada!
    If this was reported by Spector we would all be laughing and calling him a moron which he is but that’s not the point.

    I would take Zajac as long as we can pry Larsson or Zacha as pieces coming back.

    How about Bozak, JVR and Percy for Zajac, Zacha and NJ’s 1st, not Lottery protected.
    I would love Larsson but I doubt NJ would part with him for anything less than Rielly.
    NJ finally gets JVR, a local boy, 30 + goal winger who is only 26 and has an amazing contract
    Bozak who if you listen to the Zajac bathers in NJ, is a year younger, has better scoring numbers with a shorter term for less $$$
    (Let’s ignore his advanced stats if they do)
    Percy who could play this year on the NJ defence and eases the pain of losing Zacha.

    Can you say “Culture change”?

    Leafs get Zajac who is an all round better player than Bozak (far better advanced stats) and is the type of player that can set an example for all the young players who will begin playing for the Leafs next year. By the time this team is competitive he will be in the last year(s) of the contract.
    Zacha, who has immense potential as a big scoring centre
    NJ’s 1 st giving us 2 high lottery selections and three 1st round picks next year.