According to numerous NHL sources over the past week and on Wednesday night, now-former New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri was the primary target for the Boston Bruins heading into the NHL Trade Deadline next Monday. Well, that target is off the NHL Trade market as of 7:51 PM ET Wednesday night.
The New York Islanders acquired Palmieri and veteran center Travis Zajac from the Devils in exchange for A.J. Greer, Mason Jobst, a first-round pick in this year’s NHL Draft, and a conditional fourth-round pick in next year’s draft. New Jersey will also retain 50 percent of both Palmieri and Zajac’s salaries. The conditional pick in 2022 becomes a third-round selection in 2022 or 2023 if the Islanders make it to the Stanley Cup Final, according to Pierre LeBrun. Both Palmieri and Zajac are unrestricted free agents after this season.
Per Christian Arnold of NYI Hockey Now and via PuckPedia:
‘The additions of Palmieri and Zajac, with New Jersey covering half of each of their salaries, means that the Islanders have $3.1 million of cap space left available, according to PuckPedia, with the trade deadline still five days away. The Islanders are able to exceed the salary cap by $12.8 million due to Johnny Boychuk and Anders Lee being placed on LTIR. They have currently surpassed the cap by $9.78 million, according to PuckPedia.‘
As of Wednesday night, the Bruins were projected to have $5.2 million in salary-cap space at the NHL Trade Deadline next Monday so they surely would’ve been able to absorb the cap hit the Islanders just took and still have some wiggle room. That means the return the Bruins were offering on the NHL Trade market for a player like Palmieri wasn’t as the Islanders or the ask from the Isles just wasn’t fit.
On Tuesday, my partner-crime, Joe Haggerty, reported that the Bruins, Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Carolina Hurricanes, were all finalists for acquiring Palmieri. One source Wednesday night confirmed that Jake DeBrusk discussed in one trade scenario that would’ve anded the Bruins their big scoring fish in Palmieri. The source did not know if the Bruins said no on DeBrusk or not but did confirm that the Bruins told the Islanders and continue to let any team know that Bruins rookie center Jack Studnicka is off-limits in any NHL Trade talks.
Another source did speculate that the uncertainty surrounding the Bruins’ goaltending situation may have caused Sweeney to pause to recalibrate before pulling the trigger on Palmieri or any other trade for now. Whatever the case, each source did agree that the longtime history and connection between Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello and the Devils franchise definitely gave him an edge in the NHL Trade talks surrounding Palmieri. Last season, Lamoriello was able to land defenseman Andy Greene at the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline. Whatever was the case, the Bruins just lost out on a five-time 20-goal scorer to their toughest competition in the East Division and a team they are yet to beat this season, going 0-3-2 against the islanders so far.