EAST MEADOW, NY (AP) – The New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils are apparently in the process of becoming trading partners by the NHL deadline.
For the second year in a row, the New York metro area rivals have struck a deal for the young and developing Devils to send an experienced player to the Islanders for their playoff push for a Stanley Cup.
Last year it was veteran defenseman Andy Greene. The Devils dispatched right-winger Kyle Palmieri and two-way center Travis Zajac to the island on Wednesday for New York’s first-round pick this year, a conditional fourth-round pick next year, and forwards AJ Greer and Mason. Jobst.
The move before Monday’s trade deadline is not surprising. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello led the Devils to three Cups and Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald was in Providence when Lamoriello was sporting director.
“I feel my relationship with Lou is extremely strong, there is a trust factor between the two of us and it’s important to Lou and it’s very important to me,” said Fitzgerald. “Last year we had the same thing… there are players Lou appreciates on our team, for obvious reasons. For me the players want to play for Lou especially his former players and I think that’s important through it all and Travis was no different. He knows what the environment will be like, he knows what the expectations will be.
New Jersey will pay half the wages of Zajac and Palmieri.
The Islanders are tied with Washington atop the East Division, with four points coming back to Pittsburgh. New York is 9-4-0 since captain Anders Lee was lost to a torn ACL in a game against New Jersey on March 11.
Palmieri, who hasn’t played since last weekend and will be a free agent after this season, gives the Islanders a proven scorer to help Anders Lee for the season with a knee injury. The 30-year-old Long Island native has scored at least 24 goals in each of his first five seasons with the Devils. He’s started slowly this year and has eight games in 34 games.
“It’s been a bit of a crazy week, starting with the scratch on Sunday,” said Palmieri. “When I heard the Islanders were an option, I couldn’t have been more excited. A little anxious while waiting for this call, but hard to contain my excitement. “
Zajac, who has spent his entire career with the Devils, recently played his 1,000th regular season game. The 35-year-old can do everything from face-offs and face-offs to death penalties.
“I think at this point I wanted to have a chance to win,” Zajac said. “I believe this is the team that has all aspects of a winner. I want to help them in any way I can. For me it was the right time. I was lucky to have a such a great career in New Jersey, with tons of great people.
Zajac had a non-trade deal that had to be given up, Fitzgerald said.
“The value he brought to the organization was very high, but if he thought I could get a kick out of it, maybe that’s it. So we worked together on that,” said Fitzgerald.
Jobst was the Islanders’ 2021 NHL first-round pick.
Greer currently plays for AHL’s Bridgeport, where he has one goal and one assist in 10 games. In 37 career NHL games, the 24-year-old left winger has recorded one goal and five assists.
New Jersey now has nine picks in the 2021 NHL Draft. The club have their own picks in rounds one, three, four and six; first and second rank Islanders; Buffalo fifth round pick and Arizona third and seventh round picks.
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