He ended it where it all began, even after being traded to the New York Islanders at the 2021 NHL trade deadline. Travis Zajac has officially announced his retirement from the NHL. Along with the announcement of his retirement he also signed a one-day contract with the Devils.
That nice little move can bookend his career as a New Jersey Devil.
Former New York Islanders Travis Zajac announces retirement
Drafted 20th overall in 2004 by then Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, Zajac spent 99% of his NHL career with the New Jersey squad. Literally, his 13 regular-season games with the Islanders represent 1% of his NHL career. Ending it where it began with a one-day deal is a super classy move by the Devils.
Zajac indicated how grateful he was to go back to Jersey and end it where it all began according to the official announcement for the one-day deal/retirement:
"“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.”"
During the offseason, it was widely believed that Travis Zajac would return to the New York Islanders for a final year. Now we know that isn’t the case at all.
Clearly, Zajac didn’t want to tag along as some sort of group of 13th forwards with the New York Islanders. At the moment the Isles have 14 forwards under contract and that list doesn’t include Zach Parise who we know is signed. Adding Zajac to that group makes it way too crowded.
Of course, having center depth would be very valuable to the Isles, but for Zajac, there’s no guarantee he’d get much game time if any.
In his short stint with the Islanders Zajac put up two points in the regular season and another two points in 14 playoff games when Oliver Wahlstrom was forced out of the lineup due to injury.