Devils Trade Palmieri, Zajac to Islanders

The New York Islanders were aggressive before the upcoming NHL trade deadline and the Devils were the beneficiaries of that – at price.

Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac are now Islanders and the Devils got a good package back for them.

Let’s start with Palmieri. He was an unrestricted free agent to be and the Devils were unable to come to terms on a new contract with in exchange for him, the Devils essentially got a 2021 first-round Draft pick. The Devils will retain 50-percent of his salary. Palmieri had a modified no trade clause.

For Zajac, the Devils got a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2022 Draft and the Devils will likewise retain 50-percent of salary. Zajac had a full no trade clause in his contract and needed to waive it in order to be traded.

The Devils also obtained AJ Greer and Mason Jobst in the trade.

Greer is 24 years old, a 6-foot, 2-inch 205 pound left winger who was with the Bridgeport SoundTigers of the AHL. He has one goal and an assist over ten game in the American League. He has played 37 games at the NHL level where he has one goal and five assists (six points).

He was Colorado’s second round pick in 2015 (39th overall).

Jobst is 27, 5-foot, 8-inches, 185 pounds. He has two assists over six games with the SoundTigers.

Both players will report to the Binghamton Devils.

The real star of the trade is pretty much the first-rounder. It will be a low first-round pick because of how the Isles are doing and are likely to do, but it can always be flipped for an NHL caliber player. The Devils now have nine picks in the 2021 Draft (their own first rounder, third rounder, fourth rounder, sixth rounder, the Islanders’ first and second rounders, the Sabres’ fifth rounder and the Coyotes’ third and seventh rounders).

It’s sad to see these guys go. Palmieri was a great leader. A Jersey-raised guy who wore the Devils uniform with pride. Of course, he was born on Long Island so he has connections there. Through many of the lean years, Palms was one of the few reasons to get excited about the Devils. He will provide veteran leadership and scoring to New York.

Speaking of veteran leadership, Travis Zajac has that in droves. He just recently played in his 1,000th NHL game and can lead. He will give the Isles a lot of defensive forward prowess and will kill penalties and win faceoffs.

This move also gives Zajac a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Following 2012, you wanted to see him get another chance at winning. And to do it with ex/current teammate Andy Greene would be all the more sweeter.

Good luck to both guys on the Island. Let’s see how this plays out from a Devils perspective as well.

Devils Swept in Season Series with Capitals

First off, a very happy Easter to all those celebrating!

So the bad news? The Devils were swept in a season series by the Capitals for the first time since 2015-16 when they lost all four games to them. They lost six and tied one with the Caps in 1982-83. They also became the first team to drop an eight game season series since the Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins eight times over the 2007-08 season.

The good news? These two teams will not be meeting again this season!

Big news for the Devils camp as Kyle Palmieri was held out for precautionary reasons. The trade deadline is eight days away and we will see if both sides can agree to an extension or Kyle gets traded. Will Butcher and Aaron Dell were the other healthy scratches.

In goal, Mackenzie Blackwood had a rare afternoon. For the first time in four games he did not face 40 shots or more. He saw just 19 of them and turned aside 14 for a ;737 save percentage. He let in Washington’s only shorthanded shot and one of their three power play chances. At even strength he was 12-for-15.

In goal for the Caps was Ilya Samsonov. He stopped 29-of-32 at even strength, got all seven of the Devils’ power play shots and stopped 35-of-39 total for an .897 save percentage.

It was Kid’s Day at the Rock, with Nickelodeon characters out in full force to entertain the younger fans.

Travis Zajac scored the first goal of the game when Ryan Murray got the puck up to Nick Merkley – who was slotted in for Palmieri – who was along the near boards. Zajac was trailing \and received a pass for he one-timer an the goal.

But the Caps tied tihings at the 9:16  mark of the first when Brenden Dillion got the puck to Alex Ovechkin he passed off of the boards and Dmitry Kulikov’s skate to TJ Oshie, who made a power move around Kulikov and towards the net scored. The game was tied at one.

The Caps started to pull ahead in the second period. It began when Conor SHeary scored at the 3:21 mark. It was tic-tac-toe Justin Shultz to Dmitry Orlov to Sheary, who’s shot  redirected in off of Damon Severson to give the Capitals the 2-2 lead.

It would be Ovechkin’s turn at 8:09 on the power play. After a Capital win on an offensive zone draw Evgeny  Kuznetsov got it to Nicklas Backstrom at the near half wall. He passed to Ocechkin waiting on the doorstep a he just tapped it in. That goal tied Ovechkin with Brett Hull on the all-time NHL power play goal list (265 for both of them as he continues to assault the record books.

Before the second period was up, Yegor Sharangovich got the Devils back into the game. It saw Jack Hughes give Ryan Murray who hit Sharangovich through the neutral zone. He broke through tee Washington line, using Orlov as a screen, he shot an  scored, making it 4-2 Caps.

In the third, Carl Hagelin started the scoring, doubling up het Capitals’ lead. He scored shorthanded when the puck got by Damon Severson at the blur line. Garnet Hathaway grabbed it and raced up ice. With two Devils’ defensemen on him, he then thread the needle, making a slick pass by Garnet Hathaway, who passed back to Hagelin. Hagelin scored and it was now 4-2 Caps.

Kuznetsov made it 5-2 when he scored at 5:31 of the third. It was a Russian connection as Orlov broke into the Devils zone, lost the puck, but Ovechkin picked it up for him. He then passed backdoor to Kuznetsov who again tapped tpu ck into the net.

But the Devils still had some life. A mini comeback was in order. It began at 10:15 of the third when Pavel Zacha grabbed a loose puck after a battle along the board. He passed to Jesper Bratt in front who scored to make I 5-3.

Zajac would scored his second at 15:53 when Merkley passed to him to Zajac at the faceoff dot. He ripped a one-timer and scored. Giving him two goals, two assists to Merkley and two to Ryan Murray, who had the secondary assist.

But despite the Devils pulling Blackwood with 2:15 left in regulation, that was it for the scoring and our final was 5-4 Washington.

Team wise, the Devils outshot the Caps, 29-19, won 53-percent of the game’s faceoffs and had less giveaways at three to the Caps’ four. Washington did lead in this (22-18) and blocked shtots (15-6).

Michael McLeod led the centers in faceoff winning percentage with 75-percent. Jack Hughes led in time on ice with 24:13 while Ty Smith led the defensemen with 20:41. Power play time was led by Zacha and Zajac with 5:42 each.

Hughes led in shots on goal with foru, hits were led by Mikhail Maltsev and Severson who both had two. Blocks were led by Sami Vatanen with two and takeaways were led by Janne Kuokkanen and Bratt with two each,

Next up, the Devils will host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. We will, of course have coverage for you right here.

Until then, I’m very tired and going to go to bed.