Islanders Acquire Palmieri and Zajac From The Devils
The New York Islanders acquired right-wing Kyle Palmieri and center Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for their 2021 first-round draft pick, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2022 and minor league forwards A.J Greer and Mason Jobst.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils also retained half of Palmieri’s $4.65 million cap hit and half of Zajac’s $5.5 million cap hit. Both are due to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Zajac waived his no-trade clause to facilitate this deal.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello signals his club is all-in for the Stanley Cup this season. This move provides additional depth and experience to his forward lines for what could be another deep postseason run.
Palmieri was the prize here. A five-time 20-plus goal scorer who plays with an edge, he should fit in well with head coach Barry Trotz’s system. He won’t replace sidelined captain Anders Lee’s offense but his energetic style should be a good fit on either wing among the Islanders’ top-six.
Zajac, 35, is past his prime as a top-six two-way center but he should slot in somewhere on the Islanders’ checking lines. His leadership and experience should prove invaluable.
The Devils did well to get a first-round pick for Palmieri, even though it will be among the bottom third of the first round. Zajac’s declining value accounts for why they got a conditional fourth in next year’s draft. Greer and Jobst will likely head to the Devils’ farm team as they give more playing time to their promising youngsters for the remainder of the season.