ALBANY, NY – Wednesday’s Albany Devils practice at Times Union Center ended with Kelly Zajac scoring on a backhand to win the team’s shootout competition.
“I think that was my first time scoring in that drill, so it was nice to get one,” Zajac said.
Perhaps that goal is an indicator of the second-year pro’s comfort level playing in the American Hockey League. Last season, he was limited to 14 AHL outings and 15 ECHL contests due to a lower-body injury. This season, he has played 13 games and is currently on a three-game point streak.
“Last year, I was battling a little bit of an injury,” Zajac said. “It was nagging me and I feel like I’m getting into a rhythm now and getting my confidence up. Coach is depending a lot on me now and it’s a great feeling. We’ve lost some guys to key injuries and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
“We saw some flashes over the years and he’s had some injury problems and had a little trouble sticking into the lineup,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “He’s come on strong here and he looks confident. His compete level and his pace has slowly picked up. I think there is still room for improvement as far as being consistent, but he certainly has provided us with a spark and fit in nicely into that top six.”
So far this year, Zajac has registered two goals and three assists.
• Before Wednesday’s practice, the New Jersey Devils recalled defensemen Seth Helgeson under emergency conditions. Helgeson has appeared in 19 AHL games this season, producing two assists and 34 penalty minutes.
• The Devils will practice on Thanksgiving morning at Times Union Center. The team has spent the last two Thanksgivings on the road for games at Rochester.
Reid Boucher, Riley Boychuk, Mike Hoeffel, Stefan Matteau, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, Harri Pesonen, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Scott Timmins, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac