NY Islanders: Lou Lamoriello and the art of the re-acquisition

Parise stands with Devils reps
Parise stands with Devils reps / Elsa/GettyImages

New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello likes to fill his roster with certain types of players and on occasion those players are players he once acquired to fill another roster.

Our friends over at Puck and Pitchforks made a list of Lamoriello's worst five re-acquisitions for the New Jersey Devils, and there were plenty of available options. Lamoriello's tenure with the Islanders hasn't been nearly as long as it was in New Jersey, but over his five seasons, he has made moves to acquire players he has a previous relationship with on multiple occasions.

Most of them have worked out quite well.

Two days after losing John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency, Lamoriello struck a deal with his former team by trading goalie prospect Eamon McAdam for forward Matt Martin. The 2008 fifth round pick of the Isles had been signed to a four-year $10M contract by Lamoriello to join Toronto after the 2015-16 season.

Matt Martin
Calgary Flames v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

In playoff position for the second straight season, Lamoriello made a deal with the Devils to acquire 37 year old defenseman Andy Greene for a second round pick and defenseman prospect David Quenneville. Greene was signed by Lamoriello as an undrafted free agent in 2006 and would go on to become the team's captain. He signed two 1-year deals with the Islanders before announcing his retirement this past October after signing a 1-day contract with New Jersey.

In 2021, Lamoriello was looking to fill the void left by Anders Lee's knee injury and traded a first-round pick to the Devils for forward Kyle Palmieri. Along with Palmieri, the Islanders also acquired veteran forward Travis Zajac, who Lamoriello drafted in the first round (20th overall) in 2004. Zajac was fine for the Isles as a depth forward and ended up being a regular during their playoff run to the Semi-finals after Oliver Wahlstrom was injured in the first round. Like Greene, Zajack signed a 1-day contract with the Devils before retiring.

David Conte, Travis Zajac, Lou Lamoriello, Claude Carrier
2004 NHL Draft / Sara D. Davis/GettyImages

Next we have Zach Parise. The ageless forward was drafted by Lamoriello 13th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft and would lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012. He then signed as a free-agent with his hometown Minnesota Wild where he spent nine seasons before being bought out of his contract before the start of the 2021-22 season. Looking for an opportunity for ice-time and a chance to prove he still had something left, he signed a one-year contract with the Islanders and then a one year extension for the 2022-23 season. At age 38, Parise scored 21 goals and the fanbase is hoping to have him back next season.

Lastly, there's Pierre Engvall. The lean and fast Swedish forward was drafted by the Maple Leafs in the 2014 Draft before Lamoriello arrived. However, he was familiar with the player and liked his skillset enough to send a 2024 third-round pick to Toronto at the trade deadline. Engvall provided an offensive boost to the team's top nine and made a case for himself to earn a multi-year contract from the Islanders or another team this summer.

That just about does it for his Islanders tenure unless you want to count Bo Horvat, who was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks with a pick the Devils sent to Vancouver for goaltender Cory Schneider, who Lamoriello signed into the Islanders organization to be their AHL goalie and emergency backup, which he has done over parts of the last three seasons, appearing in one NHL game.