NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The New Jersey Devils have signed first-round draft pick Pavel Zacha to a three-year, $2.78 million entry-level contract.
Devils executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero announced the signing on Tuesday, saying that the forward will have an average annual salary of $925,000.
Had Zacha not signed by Saturday, the 18-year-old would not have been allowed to play in the NHL this season.
''It was always my dream to play in the NHL,'' Zacha said in a conference call. ''It's a great feeling.''
Zacha, who is working out in California to prepare for training camp next month, is expected to push for a spot on the Devils roster this year. The franchise has missed the playoffs the past three seasons.
''I am looking to show everyone that I can make the team, and I will do anything for it,'' Zacha said.
Zacha was selected sixth overall in the recent draft. He spent 2014-15 with Sarnia (OHL), collecting 16 goals and 34 assists in 37 games.
The Czech native played in 38 games for Liberec in the country's top league in 2013-14. He also participated in each of the last two World Junior Championships.