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Islanders Blockbuster: Penguins Rival Gets Palmieri, Zajac from NJD

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NHL trade Kyle Palmieri
COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 27: New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac #19 and New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri #21 celebrate a goal during the preseason game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New Jersey Devils at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on September 27, 2019. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire)

There it is. The New York Islanders trade will be talked about for years as the Pittsburgh Penguins rival kicked off the NHL trade deadline festivities on Wednesday night. The lineup had a hole on the top line because of the season-ending injury to leading goal scorer Anders Lee. Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello added talent to the lineup to replace the production on Wednesday night with the big get on the NHL trade market, winger Kyle Palmieri.

Palmieri, 30, is a RW with a right shot and will be a UFA after this season. Lee, of course, is a LW, but Lamoriello also got Travis Zajac to bolster the center depth.

The move will give coach Barry Trotz flexibility to create a stacked lineup. Perhaps Palmieri will flip to the left side on the Islanders’ top line with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle.

Or one of the Islanders centers like Brock Nelson or J-G Pageau could take the spot and allow Zajac to be New York’s second or third-line center.

For Palmieri and Zajac, the New York Islanders gave up two depth forwards: 24-year-old A.J. Greer, whom the Islanders acquired from Colorado this offseason, and 27-year-old Mason Jobst, who was a 25-year-old college free agent in 2019. Neither Jobst and Greer are considered NHL regulars.

The big return to New Jersey was perhaps smaller than their ask. New Jersey received a 2021 first-round pick and a 2022 fourth-rounder which could become a third-rounder in 2022 or 2023 if New York makes the Stanley Cup Final.

Seems like a small return for a solid center and top-line winger.

The Penguins’ recent five-game winning streak pulled the Penguins even with the Islanders, who have now made the first big move on the NHL trade deadline.

The Penguins lost two straight and now trail New York by four points. PHN has examined if the Penguins can afford to put a defenseman on the NHL trade market and the Penguins’ trade needs. 

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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