Travis Zajac

On Wednesday night, the Islanders and Devils made a big trade to help each other. 

The New York Islanders were looking to add scoring depth before the NHL trade deadline. They’re a legitimate title contender this year but needed to add up front if they want another deep run in the playoffs.

The New Jersey Devils aren’t in the playoff mix this year, and are looking to their future. Two veterans who have been big pieces of their roster over the past decade, Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, are in the final years of their respective contracts and were expected to be traded at some point.

On Wednesday night, the two local teams did each other a favor.

The Devils traded Palmieri and Zajac to the Islanders for forwards A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst, a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Legends crossing town

This is the second time in as many years the Devils and Islanders have hooked up on a trade that involved a legend. The Devils traded defenseman Andy Greene to the Islanders on Feb. 16 last year for a second-round pick in the 2021 draft and defenseman prospect David Quenneville.

Zajac, 35, is one of the all-time greats in Devils’ franchise history. He played in his 1,000th game earlier this year and leaves the team with 1,024 games played. He ranks fourth in New Jersey history in games played behind Ken Daneyko (1,283), Martin Brodeur (1,259) and Patrik Elias (1,240).

Originally selected by the Devils in the first round (No. 20 overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft, Zajac scored 550 points (202 goals, 348 assists) — all in a Devils’ sweater. He has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 33 games this season.

The Devils acquired Palmieri, 30, from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a second round pick in the 2015 draft and a third round pick in the 2016 draft during the 2015 offseason. He has scored 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 34 games this season for New Jersey.

What’d the Devils get?

Greer, 24, was originally a second round pick (No. 39 overall) by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2015 NHL Draft. The Avs traded him to New York Islanders for Kyle Burroughs in October of last year. He has six points in 37 NHL games, all with Colorado.

This season, Greer has one goal and one assist in 10 games with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League.

Jobst, 27, signed with the Islanders as an undrafted college free agent after four years at Ohio State in the Big Ten. He has not played in the NHL and has two assists for Bridgeport this season.

Obviously the significance of the return here for the Devils is the draft picks. New Jersey is looking to make an impact in the future and this move gives two veterans who served the team well a chance to chase the Stanley Cup.

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.