Trade season is upon us, and the New York Islanders struck a mega deal to bring some depth in their potential Stanley Cup race. The deadline is less than a week away, and the Islanders called up the Devils to strike a deal.
The Islanders landed forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac in exchange for two minor league forwards (AJ Greer and Mason Jobst), a 2021 first-round pick, and a conditional fourth rounder in 2022. In addition, New Jersey will pick up 50% of both Palmieri's and Zajac's salaries.
Similar to last year, Devil's GM Tom Fitzgerald knew that the team wasn't in contention, and should prepare their team for the future. He sent Andy Greene over the Long Island, and made a similar deal this past week. The Devils sent two guys who are slated to be UFA's this summer. They could have lost them for nothing, but instead flipped them for potential future play makers. The future looks bright for the team, with nine picks in the 2021 draft, plus a core of Jack Hughes, Mackenzie Blackwood, and Ty Smith. Fitzgerald had nothing but high praise for both Palmieri and Zajac, as well as the Islanders too.
"I hope it's the 32nd pick, I really do. I hope these two gentlemen can win a Cup and we get the 32nd pick. I would love nothing more than that," - Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald
For the Islanders, this a huge move for their quest to win the cup. After losing captain and one the team's leading goal scorers, Anders Lee, to a season ending knee injury, a move needed to be made to help bolster their lineup and continue their success. Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello did just that an added two formidable players who can gel well with the current squad.
"I also know what kind of people they are and what they bring to the locker room. Chemistry is extremely important to me." - GM Lou Lamoriello
Lamoriello has already been connected to Zajac. He actually drafted him for the Devils back in 2004 with the 20th pick. He has had quite the career for the Devils, collecting 550 points in 1,024 games. He has some playoff experience as well, totaling 28 points in 57 career playoff games, including 14 during the Devil's 2012 Stanley Cup run. He won't be a top tier option, but Zajac will be a valuable veteran for a long playoff run.
Palmieri was destined to be moved before the deadline. This season, he has 17 points in 34 games, but in the past five seasons knocked in 20+ goals. The former Duck and now Devil has 183 goals and 172 assists under his belt.
This is a low risk, high reward trade for the Islanders. The Islanders are paying half the remaining salaries on two players who can provide a spark and impact for the near future, while only sacrificing a first rounder and two AHL Bridgeport players. On paper, this is an A to A- acquisition. If the cup is hoisted at the end of the season, and an innqgural banner is hung at the UBS Arena next year, then it will definitely marked down as a major win. Rock the barn, let's go Isle.