The primary main deal of the 2021 NHL commerce deadline has landed, and whereas it’s a huge transfer, it mustn’t come as a lot of a shock. The New York Islanders, in search of a alternative for the scoring and management misplaced by captain Anders Lee’s season-ending damage, have added each in a commerce with the Devils, buying veteran forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. The commerce, as first reported by The Athletic’s Arthur Staple, marks the second season in a row that the Isles have acquired a career-Satan from their crosstown rivals, as Zajac will reunite with longtime teammate Andy Greene in New York.
As one can think about, the commerce return for the Devils is substantial, even in a purchaser’s market. In trade for his or her two core forwards and 50% retention on each salaries, New Jersey receives the Islanders’ 2021 first-round decide, a conditional 2022 fourth-round decide and younger forwards A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst. The circumstances on the second decide is as follows: If New York reaches the Stanley Cup Last this season, the fourth-rounder turns into a third-rounder and the Devils can select if they want it to be within the 2022 or 2023 draft.
This commerce clearly has the fingerprints of Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello throughout it. The veteran govt was the GM of the Devils when Zajac was drafted in 2004. He tried to re-acquire the two-way middle final season, however Zajac wouldn’t waive his no-movement clause. This time round, along with his contract set to run out, Zajac is prepared to lastly transfer on from the Devils in pursuit of a Stanley Cup, particularly when he’ll be joined by some acquainted faces. After giving up a second-round decide for Greene final 12 months, Lamoriello didn’t hesitate to return to the nicely in New Jersey and provide up a primary for Zajac and Palmieri.
Simply what are the Islanders getting on this deal? For starters, they’re including greater than 1,600 NHL video games of expertise to the lineup, a component that may’t be understated for a contender. It actually will assist to make up for the lack of Lee within the management division. Offensively, neither Palmieri nor Zajac have been at their finest this season, however they’re nonetheless top-five scorers for the Devils with 15 targets and 35 factors between them. Palmieri was thought-about one of many prime targets available on the market even in a down season and enjoying with any of the Islander’s three top-notch facilities, particularly Mathew Barzal, ought to assist his scoring to enhance.
Zajac is the right match for head coach Barry Trotz’s conservative system as a sensible, measured, two-way ahead. The place precisely he matches within the lineup on a deep roster stays to be seen. The Islanders must work out what works finest with their many potential line combos, however for now, Palmieri and Zajac will bump Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows from the energetic roster. An underrated a part of this commerce from the Islanders’ standpoint is the retained wage. With solely half of Palmieri’s and Zajac’s contracts contributing to the cap payroll, the Devils are nonetheless left with about $3M in long-term injured reserve area, sufficient room to make one other acquisition in the event that they so select.