The New York Islanders pulled off a blockbuster deal Wednesday night to bring Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to Long Island.
The deal with the New Jersey Devils was announced shortly before 8 p.m. and came less than 24 hours after reports indicated the Islanders were one of five teams interested in Palmieri’s services. In exchange for the two forwards, New York is sending A.J. Greer, Mason Jobst, a first-round pick in this year’s NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in next year’s draft.
New Jersey will also retain 50 percent of both Palmieri and Zajac’s salaries.
The conditional pick in 2022 becomes a third-round selection in 2022 or 2023 if the Islanders make it to the Stanley Cup Final, according to Pierre LeBrun.
Wednesday marked the second time Lamoriello has dealt with New Jersey to improve the Islanders near the trade deadline. Last season Lamoriello traded for defenseman Andy Greene prior to the deadline.
The additions of Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac signal another play to get the Islanders a long-coveted Stanley Cup championship this season. Both players fit the bill as far as character guys on and off the ice that bring with them a wealth of veteran leadership.
“I know who they are as people, and how well they’ll fit in the locker room here,” Lamoriello said. “Chemistry is extremely important to me.”
Kyle Palmieri has not had the best offensive season this year, but he has proven to be a 20-plus goal scorer over the course of his career. The 30-year-old winger has also been utilized in several different roles, which makes give Islanders head coach Barry Trotz a player that can be used in different situations as needed.
Palmieri has been held out of the New Jersey lineup since Sunday in anticipation of a trade and it’s been a whirlwind week for the forward.
“For me, its been a bit of a crazy week, starting with the scratch Sunday,” Palmieri said. “When I heard the Islanders were an option, I couldn’t have been more excited. Little but of anxiety waiting for that call, but difficult to contain my excitement.”
Travis Zajac gives the Islanders added depth down the middle as well.
“I’m extremely excited for this opportunity,” Zajac said. “At this point in my career and where I’m at, I wanted a chance to win. I just believe this is a team that has all the aspects of a winning hockey team, and to be able to try and be a part of that and help them in any way, I think it was, for me, it was the right time.”
The additions of Palmieri and Zajac, with New Jersey covering half of each of their salaries, means that the Islanders have $3.1 million of cap space left available, according to PuckPedia, with the trade deadline still five days away. The Islanders are able to exceed the salary cap by $12.8 million due to Johnny Boychuk and Anders Lee being placed on LTIR.
They have currently surpassed the cap by $9.78 million, according to PuckPedia.
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