The New York Islanders pulled off this year’s biggest trade so far; in doing so, they’ve improved the options available to the Seattle Kraken.
Adding two roster players in replacement of minor-league names means two extra to protect from the Seattle Kraken. The draft picks sent to the New Jersey Devils; again, could’ve been used in a side deal but it seems less likely.
However, in acquiring Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, the New York Islanders are making a statement. They don’t care anywhere near as much about who they’re protecting than they do, the Stanley Cup.
That’s a fair assessment and one any number of teams would be willing to make. What’s the point in stressing on the future when a golden opportunity presents itself.
No guarantee new guys are protected from the Seattle Kraken
While you might assume a player like Kyle Palmieri instantly walks onto the New York Islanders’ protection list, there’s no guarantees. Travis Zajac, given he’s 35 years old, is a bit more of a wild card in this regard.
Either way though, if both show up for the Islanders and put up worthy performances, maybe they have to be discussed for extensions and protection.
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Right now, both are traditional deadline rentals on expiring deals. This summer, both will hit free agency and where they go will be up to them. Hopefully, Palmieri or Zajac out-performs their rental tag and forces the hand of the Islanders.
Nothing would be more satisfying than seeing a team trying to squeeze their rentals into protection spots.
Who is their competition for the protection spots?
The common assumptions see the following names protected by the Islanders:
- Anders Lee
- Mat Barzal
- Jean-Gabrielle Pageau
- Brock Nelson
- Jordan Eberle
- Anthony Beauvillier
- Kieffer Bellows
- Ryan Pulock
- Adam Pelech
- Nick Leddy
- Semyon Varlamov
This route already leaves some enticing names available to the Seattle Kraken. Casey Cizikas is on the list, also on an expiring deal. Josh Bailey, Sebastian Aho and Scott Mayfield would also be worth looking hard at. Joshua Ho-Sang might once have been worth a look, but safe to believe his shot at being an NHL star is all but over at this point.
The question is; can Kyle Palmieri particularly, shine enough to oust the one name on that list that’s interchangeable. Can Palmieri steal the spot that Bellows currently sits in.
It’s a big ask, given one has plenty of future potential as a 22 year-old and the other is a more wily 30 year-old. That said, Lou Lamoriello has shown some preference to veterans in the past; look at the current Islanders lines.
The likes of Leo Komorov and Matt Martin aren’t playing there by accident. Fact is, players that have consistently put up 40-50 points and have scored more than 20 goals in each of the past 5 campaigns don’t come around often.
Mortgaging the future for one run at the Stanley Cup has long been something teams do. This year though, there’s just the added hiccup of determining if the Seattle Kraken deserve to benefit from the decision.