Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac commerce grades: Devils ship duo to Islanders in mega deal


It’s formally official: commerce season is right here.

With the NHL commerce deadline lower than per week away, an enormous East Division swap went down Wednesday night time when Tri-State golf equipment, the Devils and the Islanders, traded gamers and picks. The New York squad snagged forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac whereas New Jersey obtained two minor leaguers and a few draft picks — one being a first-rounder.

It is a whole lot for each golf equipment because the Devils inventory the cabinets and the Isles get two guys that would assist the Stanley Cup contenders up entrance. 

This is how the groups did:

Islanders obtained from New Jersey:

Kyle Palmieri (F) and Travis Zajac (F)

Devils obtained from New York:

A.J. Greer (F), Mason Jobst (F), 2021 first-round choose, 2022 conditional fourth-round choose

New Jersey will retain 50 p.c of each Zajac and Palmieri’s salaries.

Devils grade: B+

Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald is aware of the way to make strikes. Final yr on the deadline (when he was the interim) he made three offers, and that was after he despatched Blake Coleman to the Lightning and Andy Greene to those similar Isles. This yr he traded two guys who will likely be unrestricted free brokers this summer season, who they might have misplaced for nothing, for one thing. 

NHL TRADE TRACKER 2021: Record of offers accomplished earlier than the deadline

With a younger core together with Jack Hughes, Ty Smith and netminder Mackenzie Blackwood, Fitzgerald went out and added a minimum of yet one more potential younger star with that first-round choose. New Jersey now 9 picks within the 2021 draft, together with two within the opening spherical. Greer is a 2015 second-round choose and Jobst went undrafted; each had been taking part in within the AHL with Bridgeport.

“It units us up very well for the longer term,” stated Fitzgerald on Zoom after the deal. “We really feel we obtained three actually good prospects that may are available and develop underneath our growth program and develop these gamers to be the gamers we mission them to be.”

Whereas the 2021 draft is not thought-about as deep as 2020, the Devils may get a high quality man within the latter portion of the primary spherical, which is the place Fitzgerald is anticipating the choose to fall.

“I hope it is the thirty second choose, I actually do. I hope these two gents can win a Cup and we get the thirty second choose. I might love nothing greater than that,” he stated.

Islanders grade: A-

The Islanders misplaced captain Anders Lee, who was tied with Brock Nelson for the staff’s purpose lead (12), to a season-ending knee damage in March. Based on’s Brian Compton, GM Lou Lamoriello famous that the way in which the staff responded after Lee went down (8-4-0), he wanted to make a transfer to assist bolster the lineup.

“I do know what they create on the ice,” Lamoriello stated relating to his latest acquisitions. “I additionally know what sort of folks they’re and what they create to the locker room. Chemistry is extraordinarily essential to me.”

Lamoriello particularly is aware of Zajac who he drafted with the twentieth total choose in 2004 for the Devils. The 2-way middle has spent his complete profession within the Backyard State and amassed 550 factors in 1,024 video games. He additionally has 28 factors in 57 playoff video games, together with 14 factors throughout the Devils 2012 Stanley Cup runner-up run.

He’ll most likely be a bottom-six man for Barry Trotz’s membership however what he brings as a grizzled veteran — and that lengthy playoff run — is intangible to the squad. It ought to be famous that Zajac waived his no-trade clause to go to the Island and contemplating it is a quick drive (site visitors allowing) from NJ to Uniondale, it was most likely an enormous purpose why. 

“I am extraordinarily excited for this chance,” stated Zajac. “At [this] level in my profession and the place I am at, I would like an opportunity to win. I simply consider this can be a staff that has all of the features of a successful hockey staff and to have the ability to try to be part of that and assist them in any method potential … I believe it was simply, for me, it was the appropriate time.”

As for Palmieri, he was the blue-chip on this deal. Earlier than the transfer, he was thought-about one of many high gamers anticipated to be moved. (TSN’s Commerce Bait board had him at No. 2.) The 30-year-old winger has solely potted 17 factors this season (in 34 video games) however he is constantly notched 20-plus targets in every of the earlier 5 seasons. In 595 profession video games between the Geese and Devils, he has 183 targets and 172 assists. A change of surroundings, and taking part in with the likes of Mat Barzal may spark his offense.

“The chance to go and be part of a staff that has an opportunity to do one thing particular is one thing each participant desires,” Palmieri informed reporters. “That is all you’ll be able to ask for. I am actually trying ahead to this chance.”

Apart from becoming a member of a staff that would go on an extended postseason run, the 2 latest Islanders may also be welcomed — from a social distance — previous mates and teammates Greene and Cory Schneider (taxi squad).

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