ALBANY, N.Y. – A former Union hockey player had to prove himself as he made his way onto the Albany Devil’s AHL team.
Kelly Zajac has become a staple of the Devils’ offense. But it hasn’t always been that way. Head coach Rick Kowalsky said he and his staff didn’t know what to expect out of the undersized forward to start the season, and it was up to Zajac to prove himself.
Zajac is known as playmaker both at Union and as a Devil.
“He’s probably, I would say, certainly the best passer if not one of them on our team,” Kowalsky said.
As a rookie, though, he just couldn’t show off his talent.
“It was a very disappointing year,” Zajac said. “Just couldn’t get healthy. The one injury kept coming back, and obviously this year being in the lineup all the time, it’s awesome, and it’s put a smile on my face.”
Zajac is the second highest scorer on the Devil’s roster this year. Much of that is due to the chemistry he’s had with his latest linemates.
Combining Zajac with Steffan Matteau and Mattias Tedendby has been the right recipe for Kowalsky.
“Well, I think it’s a good combination, and I think it works for Kelly because they’re both fast guys that he has to skate with,” Kowalsky said.
Zajac had two assists in the Devils’ 4-2 win over Springfield in the second game of the playoffs, but it’s questionable whether he’ll be healthy enough to play in Game Three.
But Zajac said he’ll definitely play. The Devils take on the Ice Caps at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Saint John’s.