Islanders make two important moves to bolster stacked team.
After making it to the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, the New York Islanders came into the 2021 season as one of the best teams in the NHL.
After getting off to a slow start, they’ve been just that over the past several months. A season-ending injury to one of their best players and captain, Anders Lee, came as a roadblock, but the Islanders had their sights set on acquiring a replacement.
That they got on April 7th when they acquired forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils.
Acquiring just Palmieri would have been an accomplishment and adding the versatile veteran Zajac to the deal while not giving up much at all is a win. (Read more about the potential impact of both players here.)
The Islanders made their big move before the deadline, but didn’t let Monday go without adding some depth. They acquired LHD Braydon Coburn from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2022 seventh-round pick.
Granted, Coburn won’t play nearly as significant a role as the Islanders’ other deadline acquisitions.
This was an important depth move and although Coburn likely won’t start most days, he’ll be a valuable veteran option if Barry Trotz wants to change things up or if an injury comes along.
Coburn is 36 years old, a Stanley Cup champion, and brings valuable characteristics such as size and strength to an already-elite blueline.
Most of the work the Islanders did came prior to the deadline, but it’s easy to declare them winners. They added a combination of talent, versatility, experience, veteran leadership, and depth in Coburn, Palmieri, and Zajac.
This team has already been one of the best in the game and has gotten that much stronger after making these three acquisitions without having to bid anyone significant farewell.