New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald took steps early to make move a week ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline moving Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to the New York Islanders. For the pair, the Devils got back a 1st-round pick in 2021, a 4th-round pick in 2022 or 2023 (Islanders choice) that becomes a 3rd rounder if they make the Stanley Cup Final, and current AHL players AJ Greer and Mason Jobst.
While the Devils moving on from players is not surprising, the return at first glance is a little underwhelming. The 1st-round pick is great and expected for a goal scorer of the caliber of Palmieri, but with the season he is having adding Zajac really did not garner much of anything. A 4th-round pick is a huge wildcard any year.
AJ Greer was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche and really just looks like a big body on paper. The winger is 6’3 and 210 pounds. At 24 years of age, he is likely close to where he will be development wise if not already at it. He has put up 1 goal and 6 points in 37 NHL games which again is underwhelming, so the Devils’ will really be looking for a fresh start being a jumpstart and for him to bring a lot of intangibles like a Nathan Bastian does.
As for Mason Jobst, he is 27 years old and clearly done developing so this is likely a move to help Binghamton as other players are called up for the rest of the season to the big club. He is also listed at 5’8, so realistically even if he was young the Devils cant afford another player that size.
In the end, it was unexpected to see both Palmieri and Zajac go at the same time, but it is always disappointing to lose such class players on top of your most consistent goal scorer for years and the longest-tenured player and final player from a good Devils team. As fans, we will have to wish them the best and hope they will one day win the Stanley Cup, but for this year, it would be best for the Devils if they somehow managed to freefall in the standings.
The one bonus is the fact that the draft will be more random than ever thanks to shortened seasons and perhaps they can get another star in the later half like they did with Ty Smith. With a week to go, more players will be moved out and hopefully they can acquire some more high-end assets for a few defenders.