Islanders trading for New Jersey Devils Travis Zajac would be crazy
Adding some scoring should be the New York Islanders top priority. It might not be easy, but that doesn’t mean they should settle for Travis Zajac.
Going into the season, the New York Islanders needed scoring. Their top six had a number of good players, but it had very few great players, aside from Mathew Barzal.
So far, through 28 games, the Islanders find themselves tied with the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks for 23rd in the league in offense with 79 goals for. Of course, that’s in all situations.
At the start of the year, Barry Trotz was clear to say that his team will be fine offensively because they can create offense at 5on5. The Isles offense is currently ranked 28th in 5on5 situations. It’s clear, the Islanders need help offensively. That’s why going in on Tyler Hall is on the tip of everyone’s lips.
It won’t be easy or even cheap to pry the former Hart Trophy winner from a divisional rival, but it’s the exact type of move Lou has been looking to make since he arrived. That’s why the recent musings of the New York Post’s Larry Brooks about going after Travis Zajac doesn’t work.
The New York Posts hockey columnist believes that it will be difficult for Lou to pry Taylor Hall or New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider in a trade.
He’s not wrong, it would be hard to get either of the two. Although, I’m not sure how interested the Islanders are in acquiring Chris Kreider. Either way, if Lou can’t get the big fish he’s looking to land he isn’t going to get a player just to get one.
Brooks believes that Lou will chase Travis Zajac as a secondary option because the veteran GM isn’t going to head into the post-season with the same roster and just see what happens in the playoffs.
"Lamoriello has never been one of those guys to hope to finish eighth and put his faith in the alleged randomness of the postseason. He has never been one to merely spin the wheel without looking for an edge over the house. – Larry Brooks, New York Post"
Except for the fact that Lou did exactly that last season. After Lou didn’t want to meet Ottawa’s asking price for Mark Stone he closed up shop and did literally nothing at the 2019 trade deadline.
If he doesn’t get the top tier player he’s looking to add he won’t be bringing in a secondary option. Certainly not one who costs a lot on the cap and isn’t playing particularly well.
With ten points in 29 games, Tavis Zajac is on pace for 28 points over a full 82 game slate. His 0.344 points-per-game is his lowest production rate since 2014-15 when he scored 25 points in 74 games.
There’s also the fact that he holds a $5.75 million cap hit both this year and next. That, combined with his low production is enough to want nothing to do with a Travis Zajac trade.
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Bringing in a declining 34-year-old center on a huge contract for this season and next, when the Islanders have to pay their three biggest RFA’s this summer would be crazy. If Lou can’t get the big-name player he’s looking to add he won’t add. That’s just how he operates now.