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Lightning Round: Trade Season is officially under way

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The first big deal has Lou Lamirillo bringing some old friends to the island.

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

The first big trade of the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline has been completed. The New Jersey Devils have sent two veteran forwards, Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, to the New York Islanders in exchange for a 2021 First Round Pick, a conditional 2022 fourth-round pick, and minor leaguers A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst. The Devils will also pick up half of the remaining salaries for their two departing players, both of whom are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

It was expected that Palmieri would be moved as the 30-year-old had been held out of the last few Devils’ games. Adding Zajac, a 35-year-old who has spent 15 seasons with New Jersey is a bit of a surprise. Both players came into the New Jersey system when Lou Lamoriello, now the GM of the Islanders, was an executive with the Devils.

Palmieri was 10th on The Athletic’s Trade Board after the latest update in the middle of March. The deal gives the Islanders some veteran depth up front and two solid forwards that can play anywhere in the line-up.

The price the Islanders paid isn’t really that bad and may indicate it could be a buyer’s market this year. The first rounder will be a middle-to-late pick, the fourth round pick could be become a 2022 or 2023 third round pick if the Islanders make the Stanley Cup final and the two players are depth AHL’ers.

With the lack of a long juniors season the upcoming draft has a tremendous amount of uncertainty so it’s not really surprising that the Islanders would be willing to part with the pick to solidify their playoff chances. They are currently tied with the Washington Capitals for first place in the East and have a four-point lead over the third place Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Islanders may not have secured the top prize in the deadline sweepstakes, but they did pick up two players that should fit nicely into their season.

How does this affect the Lightning? Well, it really doesn’t. They weren’t in the market for either player, nor were there any players on their roster that the Islanders would have wanted to make a deal for. It could be good news for one of the Bolts former prospects as Nolan Foote might get a chance now that there are two openings on the Devils’ offensive lines.

It will make the Islanders a little more difficult to play if Tampa Bay should meet them in the third round or Eastern Conference Final. One of the advantages that the Lightning had last year was the depth of their forward lines. With the addition of Zajac and Palmieri, that gap has been narrowed.

We’ll have more on the Lightning and the trade deadline later today.

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