Pavel Zacha
Image: OHL

Pavel Zacha

Hometown:

Brno Czech Republic

Currently Playing In:

CHL

Birthday:

1997-04-06

Position:

C

Eligible for draft:

2015

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2015

Height:

6-3

Acquired:

1st Round (6th Overall), 2015

Weight:

200 lbs.

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History

2011-12: Pavel Zacha appeared in  one Czech Republic U20 league game as a 15-year-old, skating for Bili Tygri Liberec. He split the season between Liberec’s U18 and U16 squads and played for the Czech U16 team. Zacha had no points nor penalties and was -1 with the Bili Tygri U20 squad. He scored 10 goals with 15 assists and was +16 with 20 penalty minutes in 36 regular season U18 games for Liberec and scored 2 goals with 3 assists, finishing +2 with 6 penalty minutes, in six playoff games. Eighth in the regular season, Bili Tygri reached the playoff semifinals. Zacha was the team’s second-leading scorer in the playoffs with 2 goals and 3 assists in seven games. He scored 26 goals with 39 assists and was +42 with 46 penalty minutes in 33 games for the Liberec U16 team.

2012-13: Zacha skated in his first pro game — recording no points nor penalties in a cameo appearance with second division club HC Benatky and Jizerou in the playoffs — and was the second-leading scorer for the Bili Tyrgi LIberec U20 team. He played for the Czech Republic at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship and in the Europe Youth Olympic Festival. Zacha scored 14 goals with 26 assists and was -1 with 26 penalty minutes in 39 regular season games forLiberec, which finished 10th in the regular season before reaching the U20 playoff semifinals. Zacha scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was -1 in five playoff games. He had three assists and was was +3 with 2 penalty minutes in five games for the Czech Republic at the 2013 U18 WJC in Ufa, Russia and scored 1 goal with 2 assists in three games for the Czech U17 team at the EYOF.

2013-14: Zacha skated in the Czech Extraliga as a 16-year-old and represented the Czech Republic in three international tournaments — the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the 2014 U20 and U18 World Juniors tournaments. He played in 38 Czech Extraliga regular season games and three playoff contests for Bili Tygri Liberec, scoring 4 goals with 4 assists, and was -3 with 10 penalty minutes. Zacha played 12 second division games with Benatky and Jizerou, scoring 4 goals with 5 assists and finishing -2 with 6 penalty minutes. In 13 games for the Bili Tygri U20 team, including three playoff games, he scored 7 goals with 12 assists and was -1 with 68 penalty minutes. He was -2 with no points nor penalties in five games for the Czech Republic U20 squad. Zacha scored 1 goal with 2 assists and had an even plus/minus in four games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament and scored 3 goals with 2 assists, finishing +2 with 4 penalty minutes in seven games at the WJC in Finland. The Czech U18 captured a silver medal, falling 5-2 to the USA in the gold medal game. Zacha was selected by the Sarnia Sting with the first overall pick in the 2014 CHL Import Draft.

2014-15: Zacha endured a challenging first season in North America — limited to 37 regular season games for the OHL’s Sarnia Sting due to nagging injuries and two suspensions for illegal hits. He represented the Czech Republic in both the 2015 U20 and U18 World Junior Championship tournaments. Despite his adversity, Zacha was one of the Sting’s top forwards when in the lineup, scoring 16 goals with 18 assists and finishing +5 with 56 penalty minutes. Sarnia finished second in the West Division and lost to Erie in a first-round playoff series. Zacha scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was -4 with 10 penalty minutes in five playoff games. He scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was -1 with no penalty minutes in five games for the Czech Republic U20 team and scored 5 goals with no assists, finishing +2 with 10 penalty minutes, skating in the U18 WJC. Zacha played for Team Orr in the CHL Top Prospects Game and was ranked eighth amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings prior to the 2015 NHL Draft.

Talent Analysis

Zacha is an offensively dynamic forward who can make a significant impact on the game with his combination of size, speed, and skill. The centerman can beat defenders one-on-one when he is on the rush with the stick on his blade where he can overpower most opponents to generate scoring chances. Zacha also puts a lot of power into his wrist and slap shots. The physical challenges of hockey do not seem to bother him but he would prefer to create scoring chances rather than get into shoving matches. Personality-wise, Zacha is coachable, has a workmanlike attitude in the gym, and a positive charisma.

Future

Zacha signed a three-year entry-level contract in August and attended his first training camp with New Jersey before returning to Sarnia for his second OHL season with the Sting in 2015-16. He also skated for the Czech Republic in the 2016 World Junior Championship. The leading scorer for the Sting, the extra year of junior hockey should help him better adjust to the North American game and build up his confidence.

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