CONT: New Jersey agrees to retain 50% of both Palmieri and Zajac’s salaries. 2/2 https://t.co/BaV5g2DcNN— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 7, 2021
Tonight, as the Maple Leafs are playing the Canadiens, the Islanders made a very unsurprising trade with the New Jersey Devils.
The Leafs were rumoured to be interested in Palmieri, which was a state of being not shared by all of their fans. What this means for the Leafs is two-fold, a price is set, and the Leafs won’t end up with the ageing Palmieri who might just be a top-six player on a bad team, not a good one.
The price: A first round pick that should be expected to be very bad — the Islanders don’t plan on losing early — got them two forwards and full retention. The players going back the other way are minor leaguers, one of whom, A.J. Greer, has a little NHL experience and could be of use as New Jersey tanks out the rest of the season. The conditional fourth round pick is not much to consider.
For the Leafs, they might be looking for a two player trade as well, and now they’ve got some kind of benchmark on the cost. Their first, also hoped to be terrible, should be of an equal value to a lot of second-rounders, and might well be the first thing offered in trade. All talk of top prospects has been contingent on what’s on offer, and no one should have ever though Palmieri and Zajac were worth Timothy Liljegren.
The Leafs might have been interested, but the chance of Palmieri being legitimately better than Alex Galchenyuk, the new bar an acquisition has to clear, seems small. When the expectation was to be better than Jimmy Vesey, it was an easier thing to find a player to fit, now the Leafs need to think bigger or go home.
Lou Lamoriello, who loves to be the first guy to make a big deal, not the last, has a compatriot in Kyle Dubas. He doesn’t want to be shopping from the bargain table on Monday afternoone either.
Attention for the Leafs now has to turn to other options, but all the rumours on Taylor Hall say the suitors were Boston and the Islanders. Of course, complicating this is the Montreal Canadiens, who have Brendan Gallagher’s cap hit they can replace (dollar for dollar) with someone, since he’s not expected back until the playoffs. Will they? They might go big. If they do, Dubas really has to go bigger.