Islanders Lou Lamoriello smart to swing for the fences with trade
The hockey world expected New York Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello to be aggressive at this year’s trade deadline and he did not disappoint. Lamoriello was smart to swing for the fences.
The Islanders acquired Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac with New Jersey retaining 50% of salary. The Isles sent to the Devils their 2021 first-round pick, 2022 fourth-round pick (if Isles make the Stanley Cup Finals becomes a third-round pick in 2022 or 2023), and AHLers A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst.
Lou put his chips into the middle of the table.
What the New York Islanders Received
The Islanders upgraded their forward core and now have four deep lines. Palmieri and Zajac will add secondary scoring, improve the specialty teams, add depth at center, and leadership.
Palmieri has been a strong player for the Devils on the power play these last few years and will slide on one of the Isles extra-man units. Zajac will be able to strengthen the penalty kill and gives the Islanders five natural centers. Remember last year the Isles played Tampa Bay in the Conference Finals without Casey Cizikas due to injury.
The Islanders filled in two spots on the forward unit that has been a revolving door especially since the Anders Lee season-ending injury.
Now Leo Komarov can go back to a perfect role for him as the Isles 13th forward and be ready to step in a bottom-six role in case of injury. Kieffer Bellows, Michael Dal Colle, and Ross Johnston will be on the taxi squad as injury replacement options as well.
Due to this trade, the Islanders have checked a lot of boxes in terms of improving the team that is a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup.
What the Isles Gave Up
The big get New Jersey received was the Islanders’ first-round pick this summer. Yes, the Islanders first-round pick should be at the bottom of the round, and with the lack of scouting due to Covid, this year’s draft is very challenging.
However, this is the second year in a row the Islanders will not have a first-round pick. But like last year when the Islanders acquired J.G Pageau this move makes total sense. This is not a wing and a pray trade for the blue and orange.
Also, the Islanders still have a pick in every other round of this year’s Draft (Rounds 2 through 7). The Islanders kept their top youngsters in Bellows, Samuel Bolduc, and Robin Salo among others.
Lamoriello was very aggressive but it was the perfect time to do so. There are no guarantees and odds are Palmieri and Zajac will be rentals due to the Islanders cap situation but Lou was very smart to swing for the fences.