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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, a giant East Division swap went down Wednesday evening 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 might assist the Stanley Cup contenders up entrance. 

Here is how the groups did:

Islanders acquired from New Jersey:

Kyle Palmieri (F) and Travis Zajac (F)

Devils acquired from New York:

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

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

Devils grade: B+

Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald is aware of how one can 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 identical Isles. This yr he traded two guys who will probably be unrestricted free brokers this summer season, who they may 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 another potential younger star with that first-round decide. New Jersey now 9 picks within the 2021 draft, together with two within the opening spherical. Greer is a 2015 second-round decide and Jobst went undrafted; each had been enjoying within the AHL with Bridgeport.

“It units us up rather 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 improvement program and develop these gamers to be the gamers we undertaking them to be.”

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

“I hope it is the thirty second decide, I actually do. I hope these two gents can win a Cup and we get the thirty second decide. I’d 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 aim lead (12), to a season-ending knee harm in March. In accordance with’s Brian Compton, GM Lou Lamoriello famous that the best way 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 carry on the ice,” Lamoriello stated relating to his latest acquisitions. “I additionally know what sort of individuals they’re and what they carry to the locker room. Chemistry is extraordinarily essential to me.”

Lamoriello particularly is aware of Zajac who he drafted with the twentieth total decide in 2004 for the Devils. The 2-way heart 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 through 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 (visitors allowing) from NJ to Uniondale, it was most likely a giant motive 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 profitable hockey staff and to have the ability to try to be part of that and assist them in any approach doable … I believe it was simply, for me, it was the suitable time.”

As for Palmieri, he was the blue-chip on this deal. Earlier than the transfer, he was thought-about one of many prime 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 persistently notched 20-plus objectives in every of the earlier 5 seasons. In 595 profession video games between the Geese and Devils, he has 183 objectives and 172 assists. A change of surroundings, and enjoying with the likes of Mat Barzal might 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 needs,” Palmieri advised reporters. “That is all you may ask for. I am actually wanting ahead to this chance.”

Apart from becoming a member of a staff that might go on a protracted postseason run, the 2 latest Islanders will even be welcomed — from a social distance — previous associates and teammates Greene and Cory Schneider (taxi squad).

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