— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) November 18, 2018
Pavel Zacha’s offense is like a treasure chest. It has been locked away and buried for some time now. The Devils have tried everything, hitting it with a hammer, kicking it, throwing it down some stairs. Nothing worked. Until, through the grace of the hockey gods, they found the key. The shiny golden Swede named Jesper Bratt, sent from heaven to save the Devils season and unlock the full potential of our former sixth-overall pick.
Since Bratt’s return to the lineup, the Devils have gotten the secondary scoring they have been missing so dearly. He has mainly done this through creating offense for Pavel Zacha, a man who has been snake-bitten for three straight years.
Zacha’s main focus during his tenure in the NHL has been defense. He has excelled at becoming one of the better shut down forwards in the Devils organization. Unfortunately, the offense hasn’t caught up. On offense, Zacha is tentative and hasn’t shown the ability to create offense for himself. He seemingly lacks confidence and conviction with the puck.
— Joe JerseyDevil (@JoeJerseyDevil) November 22, 2018
When Bratt is on the ice, it doesn’t matter. Zacha just needs to get in position and Bratt will get the puck to him. Zacha’s linemates for the past couple of seasons haven’t had anything close to the playmaking ability Bratt has. Almost all of Zacha’s goals this season have come from him finding the open ice while Bratt pulls the defense in.
This newfound confidence has not only allowed for Zacha’s game to flourish, but for the entire Devils team to take a jump forward. Now that Zacha and Bratt can create offense on their own, the Devils have the added scoring depth they desperately needed. Hopefully this flash isn’t the result of a short sample size and can continue not only through the end of the season but beyond.