Just minutes before the start of NHL free agency, the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils have come to terms on a one-for-one swap that will send Erik Haula to the Devils in exchange for Pavel Zacha.
Zacha, the No. 6 overall pick from the 2015 NHL Draft, is coming off a 2021-22 season that included 15 goals and a career-high 36 points in 70 games for the Devs.
A 6-foot-3 forward who can play both center and left wing, Zacha put up a career-best 17 goals in 50 games during the pandemic-delayed 2021 campaign, and comes to Boston with 69 goals and 179 points in 386 career games over the last seven seasons.
The Czech-born forward is also wrapping up a three-year, $6.75 million contract, and comes to the Bruins in need of a new contract as an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent.
It will be interesting to see where the Bruins project Zacha’s fit position-wise, and that’s something that may entirely come down to how the situations with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci pan out.
Haula, meanwhile, was ‘sold high’ by the Bruins after a 2021-22 season that was his best since 2016-17, with 18 goals and 44 points in 78 games. Haula started out as Boston’s third-line center, but ultimately found his best fit between Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak on the Black and Gold’s second line.
Haula was entering the final year of a two-year deal worth $2.375 million per season.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.