Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, today announced that the team has acquired the ECHL rights to defenseman Nolan Zajac from the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL in exchange for the rights to forward Justin Crandall.
Last season, Zajac (5’11 / 188), who turned twenty-five on Tuesday, had an explosive run in his rookie year, racking up fifty-four points (11g-43a) and twenty-seven penalty minutes—while playing to a plus-31 (+31)—in sixty-one games with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL. His fifty-four points were fifth best amongst defensemen in the league last season; his forty-three assists were fourth most amongst ECHL d-men. For his efforts, he was selected to represent the Walleye in the 2017 ECHL All-Star Classic in Glens Falls, New York, last January; and he was ultimately named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team at the conclusion of the regular season. Zajac also played eleven regular season games in the American Hockey League last year (1g-4a=5pts, 4 pims) with the Hershey Bears, Manitoba Moose, and Iowa Wild. He completed his rookie year by racking up nine assists in sixteen playoff games with the Walleye,who advanced to the Western Conference Finals before being eliminated by the eventual Kelly Cup Champion Colorado Eagles.
Wichita acquired the rights to Zajac after the conclusion of the 2016-17 season in satisfaction of the future considerations element of a trade that sent defenseman Landon Oslanski from Wichita to the Walleye in early March of 2017.
Prior to turning pro, Zajac had a stellar four year collegiate career at the University of Denver, where he received the team’s Keith Magnuson Award as the Pioneers’ best defenseman after the completion of his senior season. A three-time member of the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team, Zajac completed his college career on an NCAA-best 147 consecutive-game “Iron Man” streak. Zajac, who has three brothers also well-versed in pro hockey—Travis, Kelly, and Darcy, racked up ninety-five points (19g-76a) and seventy-eight penalty minutes in 160 career games at Denver.
In 124 career regular season games with the Royals, Crandall recorded 116 points (40g-76a) and 102 penalty minutes.
Full Season Tickets and Mini-Plans for the Royals’ 2017-18 ECHL season are currently available. Call 610-898-7825 for more information or log onto www.royalshockey.com.