Boston Bruins trade for Pavel Zacha was an absolute steal

Pavel Zacha #18 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Pavel Zacha #18 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

After Saturday’s thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins announced that they had extended Pavel Zacha to a four-year contract. With a yearly cap hit of $4.75 million, Don Sweeney got a good deal once again, which has been one of his strengths as the Bruins GM.

Although his cap hit is currently fourth among Bruins forwards for next year, that has more to do with the lack of top-end talent the B’s have locked up going forward than it being an overpay. As we know, both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are year to year at this point, and David Pastrnak has still somehow not been extended.

And so, while Zacha’s extension is fresh in our minds, let’s take a look back at the trade that brought him to Beantown and re-evaluate.

Boston Bruins got a steal in Pavel Zacha

After their disappointing exit at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes last spring, the B’s knew they had to upgrade their roster. So they reached out to the New Jersey Devils and made a one-for-one trade. Erik Haula to New Jersey, Pavel Zacha to Boston, straight up.

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At first, it was easy to see both pros and cons to the deal. Zacha is younger and possesses a higher ceiling, although he had been a slight disappointment in Jersey and was also due for a new contract. Haula, meanwhile, was already in the system, but was more of a passenger that got carried by Taylor Hall and Pastrnak.

Looking back now, it’s clear that it was just the deal the Boston Bruins needed at that time. Zacha has been tremendous for the B’s, even though he’s been snake-bitten in terms of goals.

Prior to this year, his career high was 36 points, and he is on pace to absolutely blow by that this season. Heck, if he’d been able to have a few more pucks bounce right for him, he may already be past that number.

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Pavel Zacha a perfect fit for Boston Bruins roster

One of the best things that the addition of Zacha, in tandem with the return of David Krejci, has done is that it has allowed for more balance in the Bruins lineup. When everyone is healthy, which is not currently the case with Jake Debrusk on the shelf, the B’s now have a consistent secondary scoring threat to the Bergeron line with their new ‘Czechs Mix’ second line of Zacha, Krejci and Pastrnak.

But the biggest reason the trade was a steal is the fact that Sweeney was able to extend him for a reasonable price, and it cost him absolutely nothing. Erik Haula was always a stopgap at the 2C position, Zacha has a chance to be the future.

It’s clear that the B’s are going to need centers in the future. Whether it’s next year or the year after, Krejci and Bergeron aren’t going to be here much longer. That’s why this year is shaping up as the Boston Bruins last great chance at a title.

Having Zacha in the fold makes it that much easier down the line. He won’t ever be their first line center, so that’s still a hole they need to fill. But he can hold his own on the second (or third if Charlie Coyle is still in town). Finding one center is difficult, but finding two is near impossible, and that’s the beauty of extending Pavel now.

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Sweeney’s work this year isn’t done. He still needs to find a way to add depth at the deadline. He still obviously needs to sign Pasta, as well as find their next star center to replace Bergeron. But this Zacha signing is a good one and he deserves credit for it. So props to you, Don, now let’s keep it going!