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Werenski bridge, Zacha to KHL? Justin Faulk to Ducks

September 9, 2019, 10:18 AM ET [62 Comments]
Some movement on the RFA front that was slightly unexpected:

Reports out of Russia are indicating that Devils forward Pavel Zacha has signed a deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.

Zacha was drafted sixth overall in 2015 after Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner, and Noah Hanifin, and has not enjoyed the same level of success as those drafted before him, but did put up his best numbers (13 goals, 12 assists in 61 games) last season.

The 22-year-old heading to Russia might have something to do with his opportunity to play top-line minutes at center decreasing with the Devils drafting Jack Hughes first overall and possibly playing 2017 top pick Nico Hischier up the middle.

The Devils gave Zacha a qualifying offer in July and retain his NHL rights, and playing a primary role with Omsk under Stanley Cup-winning coach Bob Hartley could be positive for his development, but this is a sign that some increasing frustration in the RFA market. Doubtful that some of the bigger names head to Europe as Zacha did, but as the season gets closer, anything is possible.

Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports that Columbus and defenseman Zach Werenski have reached an agreement on a three-year, $15 Million bridge deal ($5 Million AAV). That is the first of the big RFA names to drop off the list. We shall see if that generates some movement leading up to training camp.

Updated: Rumors swirling that Justin Faulk from Carolina has been traded to Anaheim.

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