The New York Islanders had a few needs as they entered the 2021 trade deadline. Top six support was always a need, even before Anders Lee picked up a season-ending injury. A bottom-six forward upgrade. And, like every team going into the playoffs, defensive depth.
While the Islanders did nothing on the actual day of the trade deadline, when most deals are usually done, they were still very active. They brought in Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils as well as Braydon Coburn from the Ottawa Senators.
Yesterday I looked at what the rest of the division did at the deadline. Now, almost 24 hours after the deadline passed, I wanted to look at how the Isles did. Did they get what they needed and did they pay a fair price? And does this help them reach their goals?
New York Islanders trade deadline acquisition turned them into contenders
What They Lost
We know who the Islanders brought it, but what about what they lost in order to acquire those players?
- Palmieri & Zajac:
- 2021 1st Round Pick
- 2022 4th Round Pickk (Conditional)
- AJ Greer
- Mason Jobst
- Braydon Coburn:
- 2022 7th Round Pick
The first-round pick is the biggest loss here for the Islanders. And even then, it’s not much of a loss. I already wrote about why that is when looking at the Palmieri/Zajac trade. But basically, with the little scouting being done these late first-rounders arent’ worth much.
The two players that left the organization (Greer and Jobst) were contract fodder. The Islanders were at 48 contracts before bringing in the Devils pair. If the Isles hadn’t moved them in the deal they couldn’t have signed Ken Appleby to a two-year deal or bring in Coburn less than 24 hours before the deadline.
The seventh-rounder the Isles sent to Ottawa for Coburn holds no value at all for the team. Losing it to bring in a player who won the Stanley Cup last year (he only played three games in the playoffs) is a fair deal.
How Do These Trades Help?
Losing Anders Lee has been tough for the Islanders, but they’ve done well in his absence. Since the captain’s injury (and before acquiring Palmieri and Zajac), the Isles are 8-4-0 and averaging 3.2 goals-for per game.
But no one thought that type of play was sustainable through the remainder of the schedule and into the playoffs. Support was necessary.
We’ve already seen both Palmieri and Zajac help the Islanders get a win on the board. On Sunday, Palmieri scored on the power play to open the Islanders scoring. Travis Zajac would later make a crucial play along the boards that directly lead to Ryan Pulock‘s OT winner.
Coburn was acquired to be an extra. A just-in-case player. The Islanders may not use the 2020 cup winner, but if they need him he’s there to provide his playoff experience for the squad on the blueline.
With those additions, a team that currently sits seventh in the NHL is vaulted from a Cup hopeful to a Cup contender.
This trade deadline was a big win for the team. They added what they wanted to add and paid little to get it done. That’s an easy A.