Islanders Zigmund Palffy trade legacy still woven into today’s team

New York Islanders Zigmund Palffy #16 (Credit: Al Bello /Allsport)
New York Islanders Zigmund Palffy #16 (Credit: Al Bello /Allsport) /

In 1999, the New York Islanders traded star winger Ziggy Palffy to the Los Angeles Kings. It’s been over 20 years since the trade and the impact can still be felt on today’s roster.

Over 20 years ago, the New York Islanders traded away star winger Ziggy Palffy to the Los Angeles Kings. There was nothing wrong with Palffy’s play, he was a great winger who was scoring well over a point-per-game in the three seasons leading up to the trade.

Through the 1995-96 season to 1998-99 season, Palffy played 293 games for the Isles and scored 314 points. During that stretch, he had three 40+ goal seasons including a 48 goal season in 1996-97 that ranked him as the fifth-highest goal-scorer in the NHL that season.

But, owners Howard Milstein and Steve Gluckstern wanted to get Palffy’s contract – that they had just signed after Palffy held out – off the books. And on June 19, 1999, they got what they wanted (

sort of

). Palffy was on his way to Los Angeles in a six-player deal.

The Trade

The trade that sent Palffy to the Kings was over 20 years ago, but if you go through the Palffy trade tree you find current Islanders Matt Martin and Noah Dobson as well as potential future Islanders players Ruslan Iskhakov and Samuel Bolduc.

And along the way, there we find some good past Isles players and one incredible “what if”.

Here’s the initial trade that sent Palffy to LA.


Mathieu Biron
Josh Green
Olli Jokinen
1999 8th Overall pick (Taylor Pyatt)

Ziggy Palffy
Marcel Cousineau
Bryan Smolinski
1999 4th Round (Daniel Johansson)

Each player, including the eighth overall pick in 1999 – used to draft Taylor Pyatt – eventually brought something useful to the Islanders.

Josh Green:  Josh Green was a piece in the trade for defenseman Roman Hamrlik the following June after the Palffy trade. Hamrlik was unhappy about the trade but would play 300 games and score 153 points for the Islanders between 2000-01 and 2003-04.

Mathieu Biron: Two years after the Palffy trade, Mathieu Biron was part of a package to land Adrian Aucoin and Alexander Kharitonov. Kharitonov never amounted to anything in the NHL playing a full five games for the Isles. But Aucoin was a good presence on the right side of the blue line with 113 points in 235 games.

The next two assets that came to the Isles are where things start to get interesting with a few twists and turns.

Taylor Pyatt and Olli Jokinen Trees

Taylor Pyatt: With the eighth overall pick in 1999 the Islanders selected Taylor Pyatt. He wasn’t a great player in the NHL, but when you look at the rest of the 1999 first-round, the Islanders could have done worse. Twelve of 28 first-round picks in 1999 played fewer than 82 NHL games in their careers.

Two years after being acquired, the Isles flipped Pyatt to Buffalo for the right to sign Michael Peca. Four years with the Isles, including three years in the playoffs where he scored one point, Peca was sent to Edmonton for Mike York and a sixth-round coming back our way.

In 2006, York was flipped to Philadelphia for a 2008 fifth-round pick and Randy Robitaille. That fifth-round pick in 2008 was used to select current Islanders fourth-liner Matt Martin.

Olli Jokinen: Along with Roberto Luongo, Olli Jokinen was sent to Florida for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish. Both were fairly productive with the Isles, Parrish more so than Kvasha. Both were eventually traded just a day apart in 2006.

Oleg Kvasha: On March 9, 2006, Kvasha was sent to the Coyotes for a 2006 third-round pick (71st overall). The Isles would take that 2006 third-rounder and turn it into a fourth, fifth, and sixth-round pick all in 2006.

Neither of the players they drafted with those three picks would turn into anything. All three picks combined to play one NHL game over their careers. But that 2006 third-rounder sure did turn into something. The Isles sent that 71st overall pick in 2006 to Boston who used it to draft Brad Marchand.

Mark Parrish: On March 8, 2006, just a day before the Kvasha trade, Parrish was sent to the Los Angeles Kings for Denis Grebeshkov and Jeff Tambellini. Tambellini was never traded and instead left as a free agent. But Grebeshkov was traded and his tree takes a weird twist and gets us to picks form 2018 and 2019.

On February 18, 2007, less than a year after Grebeshkov was acquired by the Isles, they sent him to Edmonton for Marc-Andre Bergeron and a 2008 third-round pick. Just five months later, the Isles would trade that third-round pick back to Edmonton along with Allan Rourke for a second-round pick in 2008.

On February 26, 2008, Garth Snow traded Marc-Andre Bergeron to the Anaheim Ducks for Edmonton’s 2003 third-round pick. The same pick the Isles had traded back to the Oilers a year prior with Allan Rourke.

That 2008 third-round pick from Edmonton was used to select Kiril Petrov who never played in the NHL. But that 2008 second-round pick from Edmonton was used to select fan-favorite Travis Hamonic. And that’s how we get to Noah Dobson, Ruslan Iskhakov and Samuel Bolduc.

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After years with the Isles where Hamonic enamored fans with his physical play on the ice and his community work off the ice, he was traded to the Calgary Flames to be closer to family in Western Canada. In return, then GM Garth Snow was able to get a first in 2018 (Noah Dobson), a second in 2018 (Ruslan Iskhakov) and a conditional second in 2019 (Samuel Bolduc).

All of that from the one trade for Ziggy Palffy. That should never have had to take place.