Seattle Kraken: Devils Limit Expansion Damage With Smart Trade

The Seattle Kraken won’t be nabbing any new trade arrivals from the New Jersey Devils. They pulled off a big deal without bringing extra names into their protection picture.

The return on their deal with the Islanders was draft picks, A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst. Neither name rates a mention when it comes to protecting them from the Seattle Kraken.

Trading away Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, both on expiring deals, was a wily move. Expiring contracts mean that they could potentially become available to return to New Jersey in the summer.

A first-round draft pick is the coveted prize here, even if the New York Islanders are hoping it’s tantamount to a second rounder.

How will the deal influence who gets protected from the Seattle Kraken?

Most people would be picking the two names traded away as protection candidates. Palmieri and Zajac were very much on most of those lists, which in turn made Miles Wood, Nick Merkley or Yegor Sharangovich available.

As of right now, you’d have to be thinking that at least one would find their way onto a protection list.

Safe fact for the New Jersey Devils is that they’re unlikely losing a player that is performing near the top of their line-up right now. They’re certainly likely to lose a guy that could get there, but it’s unproven talent, no guarantees.

Shifting two expiring deals in Zajac and Palmieri gives them so many more options about who they’re protecting. A glance at their roster and while they’ll lose a younger player, there’s no shining star that we’d be racing to get.

There’s still the wildcard option

The idea that the Devils would not protect P.K. Subban was bandied around plenty early in the year. Especially on the back of a poor season, Subban was seen as a player the Seattle Kraken could steal, albeit with a nasty cap hit.

With somewhat of a bounce-back season, it seems a less likely proposition. Also, in light of the fact, no one defenseman has really pitched themselves worth protecting over him; it’d be a challenge.

It wouldn’t be wholly surprising if his name is out there, purely on the cap hit factor. However, it’s no longer something I’d be hedging bets on.

Anyhow, looking at the trade the Devils just made, it’s a smart hockey move. The standard ‘get a return for expiring deals’ mentality. This year though, it’s even smarter. They may have given a rival ‘food for thought’ on their protection list while in turn making their own job easier.