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Ducks’ Trevor Zegras in line for significant raise this summer

ANAHEIM — The conversation with Trevor Zegras on Thursday morning started by touching briefly on the upcoming World Championships and then wandered elsewhere.

“It’s such an honor to wear that jersey,” he said of the 16-team event, scheduled for May 12-28.

However, that doesn’t mean Zegras is a lock to get on the plane to represent Team USA in the tournament being co-hosted by Tampere, Finland and Riga, Latvia. Even though the Ducks’ season wraps up on April 13, there are other matters taking precedence.

“I think it’s something you’ve got to think about,” he said. “Obviously with stuff up in the air for this summer it might be tough to do that but it’s definitely something I’d be very honored to do at some point. If it’s something I end up doing, I probably won’t know until a little bit later.”

Front and center is a contract extension. Zegras, the Ducks’ leading scorer, will be coming out of his three-year, entry-level deal ($995,000 AAV), making him a restricted free agent and awaiting a big pay raise.

“With the contract stuff up in the air, I feel like that’s the first priority,” he said.

His agent, the Los Angeles-based Pat Brisson, said via text that he should be talking to Ducks GM Pat Verbeek “soon here about an extension.” Verbeek said on the first day of training camp (Sept. 23) that negotiations with Zegras and fellow pending RFAs Troy Terry and Jamie Drysdale would come after the season, trying to minimize distractions.

Still, it’s hard to completely push financial considerations to the side.

“I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t come up every once in a while,” Zegras said. “With where we’re at this year, down the stretch, I feel like it’s been coming up a little bit more. It’s been an emphasis since the beginning of the year that all that stuff will be taken care of after the season.

“It definitely creeps in once in a while.”

Heading into Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, Zegras had 58 points (22 goals, 36 assists) in 71 games. In all, he has 132 points in 170 career NHL games, and the only member of his 2019 draft class with more points is his close friend Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils with 189 points in 233 NHL games.

Zegras turned 22 on Monday and it was notable in that he had the second-most points in franchise history before turning 22, trailing only Hall of Famer Paul Kariya.

Reminded of that, Zegras smiled, saying of Kariya: “Whenever you hear that it’s definitely pretty cool. He’s got pretty big shoes. It’s going to take a couple of guys to fill them.”

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