The NHL trade deadline is April 12, but two East Division teams made a trade to take a potential Boston Bruins target off the board.
The New York Islanders acquired Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night in exchange for A.J. Greer, Mason Jobst, a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and a 2022 conditional fourth-round pick.
It long had been speculated that Palmieri would find his way out of New Jersey, which sits seventh in the East Division. But it also had been speculated his asking price would be a bit high, so it’s no surprise the Devils included a first-round pick. It’s always a risk trading a high pick like that for a rental player, but the Islanders want to make a run at the Stanley Cup, and know they needed a bit more to bolster their roster.
Yes, Palmieri — who has scored at least 20 goals in five straight seasons — certainly would have helped the Bruins’ 5-on-5 and secondary scoring woes that have plagued them this season. But giving up a first-round pick is a risk for someone not guaranteed to sign long-term.
The Bruins’ struggles against the Islanders this season are well-documented. They just cannot seem to beat their East Division foe, and are winless in the five games against the Isles. Whether it’s Barry Trotz having the Bruins’ number, or JG Pageau being a scoring machine against Boston, the Bruins have had a tough time figuring the Islanders out.
The Isles adding a proven scorer like Palmieri to an already-strong roster doesn’t exactly bode well for Boston. Besides being winless against the Islanders in 2021, Palmieri had points in five of the Devils’ six games against the Bruins this season, including a two-goal performance in Boston’s 3-2 loss Feb. 18.
Palmieri now joins Pagaeu who has five goals against the Bruins this season. So they’ll certainly keep the Bruins’ defense and goalies on their toes.
The Bruins and Islanders don’t meet again until April 15, but we’re sure all eyes will be on Palmieri when the puck drops at TD Garden.