Lou Lamoriello has called in the reinforcements.
The New York Islanders announced Wednesday that they have acquired two of Lamoriello’s former associates during his time with the New Jersey Devils, swinging a trade for forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac.
All in on the season, and justifiably so, the Islanders will send back a first-round draft pick this summer, a conditional fourth-round selection in 2022, as well as forward prospects A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst.
New Jersey will retain salary on both forwards in order to complete the deal.
Together, Palmieri and Zajac represent a substantial addition to the forward fleet on Long Island, which has been without captain Anders Lee for the last four weeks. A reliable 20-plus goal scorer, Palmieri can slot in on either top two lines, and could potentially forming a partnership with star centre Mathew Barzal.
Lamoriello was involved when Palmieri was first acquired by the Devils, his hometown club. The initial cost on the scoring forward was a second and third-round pick in 2015 in a deal completed with the Anaheim Ducks. Palmieri wound up scoring 140 goals in parts of six seasons, topping out at 30 goals in his debut campaign.
Zajac, meanwhile, is a veteran centre who could either push Jean-Gabriel Pageau over to the wing on the third line, or simply fill in as needed in the bottom six. He’s morphed more into a utility centre over the years, but the veteran of over 1,000 games, all played with New Jersey, has scored at a respectable rate this season, stacking up 18 points in 33 games.
This is the second time in as many seasons that Lamoriello has rewarded his team for a strong regular season, having traded a first-round draft pick last season to acquire Pageau from the Ottawa Senators. It also marks the second time he’s acquired a familiar name from the Devils after bringing in Andy Greene to shore up the blue line before the deadline last season as well.
New York is knotted with the Washington Capitals at the top of the NHL’s East Division through 39 games.
The club continues to overshoot most expectations after making a run to the Eastern Conference Final last summer.