It shouldn’t come at much of a surprise that the Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders have made the first big splash leading up to the NHL trade deadline on Monday, April 12th. Ever since Islanders captain Anders Lee went down in March, the Islanders have been rumored to be looking at potential suitors as Lee’s replacement. I detailed in this article, the case for and against the Islanders trading for Taylor Hall. Despite all of Hall’s talents and speed, he just didn’t seem like a right fit. With that said, this is exactly the type of trade I expected to see from the Islanders.
#Isles Transaction: The #Isles have acquired forwards Kyle Palmieri & Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forwards Greer, Jobst, the #Isles 1st round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft & a conditional 4th round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. 1/2 https://t.co/BaV5g2DcNN
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 7, 2021
Clearly in “win-now” mode. The Islanders did well not to give up any solid prospects while forfeiting what should be a late first-round pick in a under scouted and questionable 2021 draft. They also brought in two grizzled veterans who can provide leadership and production as well. They will undoubtedly fit perfectly into Barry Trotz’s system and should help to mitigate Lee’s loss. Ultimately, if your going to compete with a team like Tampa Bay, or another East powerhouse, your going to need depth and leadership.
While the Islanders are clearly in “win-now” mode, the Devils are clearly still in a rebuild. There have been rumors swirling around for a while now that Palmieri could be a trade chip at the deadline for the Devils. He’s been linked with teams like the Islanders and Bruins leading up until today. Regardless, the Devils got another draft pick that they can stockpile and hopefully turn into a promising prospect. This will make it six first-round picks in the last three years for the Devils. Obviously, prospects will take time, but the pipeline in New Jersey is getting stronger. Overall, the move makes sense for where New Jersey is at right now.
I really like this move for the Islanders. You now have two veteran guys who will fit into the lineup perfectly and really provide some more depth for this contending Islanders team. All the while giving up no big-time prospects. Losing all these first-round picks over the years could come back to haunt the Islanders; however, this isn’t a bad year to lose a first. The value of the first round pick has dropped due to covid restrictions and uncertainty surrounding this years draft class. Palmieri and Zajac’s are really just rentals though at the end of the day. Therefore, to really win this deal, the Islanders need to put together a legitimate playoff run and hope the Devils don’t knock it out of the park with their draft selection.