- The New York Islanders have acquired Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils
- The Isles are currently sitting tied for first place in the East division with 54 points
- Read below to see how this deal impacts the Islanders’ Stanley Cup odds
The New York Islanders have made the first major move ahead of the 2021 NHL trade deadline. The team acquired forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the Devils in exchange for forwards A.J. Greer, Mason Jobst, the Isles’ first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. The Isles are sitting in a two-way tie with the Washington Capitals for first place in the East Division with 54 points through 39 games. Barry Trotz’s team saw its 2021 Stanley Cup odds stay put at +1400 following the transaction.
Is this the type of deal that makes the Islanders a legit 2021 Stanley Cup contender?
2021 Stanley Cup Odds
|Team||Stanley Cup Odds at DraftKings|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+600|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+800|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+900|
|New York Islanders||+1400|
Odds as of April 8th
Islanders Bolster Secondary Scoring
The Isles added some much-needed secondary scoring with the acquisition of Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. Barry Trotz’s club has been one of the league’s top defensive teams for several years now, but their lack of offense has led to some frustrating playoff exits. The team sits atop the East Division with 54 points, but they rank 15th in the NHL in goal-scored-per-game (2.95).
Palmieri and Zajac are excited to head to the Island! 🏝 pic.twitter.com/e2ItKeOxZd
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 8, 2021
Palmieri has recorded eight goals and 17 points in 34 games this season and scored at least 24 goals in each of the prior five seasons. Zajac’s best days are behind him, but he’s still contributed seven goals and 18 points in 33 games this season. These are two timely additions with recent news that captain Anders Lee will miss the rest of the season with a lower-body injury.
Palmieri is the big splash given his ability to consistently fill the back of the net. He’s done most of his damage on the power play, which will be a major asset for a struggling New York power play that ranks 22nd in the NHL at 18.1% efficiency. In each of the last three seasons, Palmieri has tallied 11 power-play goals.
Isles Are Legit 2021 Cup Contender
The Isles already showed with their playoff run last season that they are not a team to be slept on in the Stanley Cup odds. New York made it all the way to the Conference Finals in 2020 before bowing out in six games at the hands of the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning. The Isles were held to two or fewer goals in five of those games, which is a problem Palmieri and Zajac will help fix.
The Islanders’ 2021 Stanley Cup odds stayed put at +1400 following the deal, which isn’t too surprising considering the injury to Lee and the talent at the top of the standings. You also have to consider that the deal likely puts the Isles out of the running for top trade deadline target Taylor Hall of the Buffalo Sabres.
These are two solid pickups, but New York’s backbone still remains its defense and goaltending. The Islanders lead the Eastern Conference with a 2.28 GAA, and goaltender Semyon Varlamov owns a stellar .922 save percentage. If the Isles make another run this season, it’ll be on the strength of their shutdown defense.
Consider Betting Islanders As Cup Longshot
The Islanders are likely to continue flying under the radar in the Stanley Cup odds because they don’t have the same type of firepower as the top contenders. Mathew Barzal has become a superstar, however, and adding Palmieri into the mix should give a big boost to the Isles’ first power-play unit.
Mathew Barzal (@Barzal_97) is a highlight machine.
By trading away draft picks and acquiring two players who have already turned 30, it’s clear the Isles are set on making a serious run this year. New York has a great chance of coming out of the East Division given their stellar defense, which would give them a one-in-four chance at winning Lord Stanley.
The Isles now have a replacement for Lee and some great center depth with Zajac joining Barzal, Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Casey Cizikas down the middle. They aren’t the flashiest team in the league, but New York’s reliable defense and new additions make them one of the better longshot Cup bets you can make.