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IslesBlog Rountable: Grading the Islanders’ Trade Deadline

The NHL Trade Deadline has officially passed and it was certainly an eventful one for the Islanders and their fans. The impact moves made by general manager Lou Lamoriello were both necessary and welcome for the Isles to go on another long postseason run this spring. We asked the IslesBlog writing team to give their grades and thoughts on how the Islanders fared.

Contributor Ryan Dunnigan:

Grade: A-

The Isles had a very nice trade deadline. As I wrote about in a previous article, I really felt Kyle Palmieri was the best player for the Isles to acquire. The addition of veteran Travis Zajac in that deal was the icing on the cake. He bolsters our group of forwards and the ability to line him up with Barzal to aid in the faceoff circle can be critical during the playoffs. Lastly, Braydon Coburn is a fine acquisition as well as he brings Cup pedigree and veteran leadership to the locker room as a depth defenseman.

Co-Editor-in-Chief James Nichols

Grade: A-

The Isles addressed all of their needs at the trade deadline, acquiring a scoring forward in Palmieri, a veteran depth forward in Zajac, and a depth defenseman in Coburn. It can’t be understated how underrated acquiring Zajac and Coburn is, as they’ve contributed to winning cultures on Stanley Cup contending teams. The big fish in Palmieri is an excellent add that should hopefully boost a stagnant Islanders power play. Lou Lamoriello hit a home run at the trade deadline this season. 

Contributor Eric Vogel

Grade: A

The theme of the trade deadline for the 2nd year in a row is chemistry. Without getting rid of a single roster player, Lou Lamoriello added two wings with leadership credentials, both former alternate captains. One is a top-six wing who bolsters the power play, comparable to what they lost in Lee. The other is a half-point per game like clockwork wing who can play in all situations and waived an NTC (no-trade clause) to chase a Stanley Cup, both of whom are buddies with former Devils’ captain and current Islander, Andy Greene.  All it cost was a first-round pick in what is sure to be an extremely weird draft.  Coburn is fine for D depth, though I would’ve preferred a right hand, but it is what it is. I don’t think I could have asked for too much more.

Columnist Brooks Simpson

Grade: A-

Lou Lamoriello secured complementary pieces who will slide right into roster and lineup slots. He did so without giving up any promising prospects: there are other pickups on their way as well. All four playoff-bound teams in the East improved themselves, setting up a dogfight through the playoffs.

Contributor Ben Mandell

Grade: A-

The team is better and I think they brought in two guys in Palmieri and Zajac who will not only fit the system but also fit in the locker room. The Coburn pick up also helps with depth on the backend. The pieces are there for the team to make a deep run, they just need to keep putting them together.

Contributor Bri Repetto

Grade: A

They gained three veteran players that have already come onto the team very strong with Palmieri scoring his first goal with the Isles in his third game. I think this will really boost them heading into the playoffs as well because these guys all boast playoff experience and they know what is expected of them as well as the best ways to approach certain matchups with tougher teams.

Columnist Daniel Friedman:

Grade: A+

No, they didn’t get Taylor Hall. But they did get better and they did it at a low cost. Facing future salary cap uncertainty and not wanting to stunt their continued growth, they brought in a good secondary scorer in Palmieri and veteran leadership (and depth) in Zajac and Coburn. I don’t know if they’re built to win the Cup, but you can be damn sure they’ll be competitive and make a run at it.

Contributor Ethan Greenberg

Grade: B+

The Islanders made the most of their resources this trade deadline upgrading their forward group with solid, veteran additions while also solidifying the back end with a veteran like Braydon Coburn. Had Anders Lee not gotten hurt, the Isles likely couldn’t have made these additions without losing someone currently on the roster. All in all, Lou was aggressive and added much-needed scoring punch upfront without sacrificing a key member of the group. The Isles are now as deep as any team out there and well-positioned for a deep playoff run.

Contributor Jon Zella

Grade: A

For the second trade deadline in a row, general manager Lou Lamoriello made a huge upgrade to the roster at the trade deadline. As he mentioned when the Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac deal went down, he thought the team deserved it after playing pretty well with captain, Anders Lee, out for the season. Braydon Coburn provides some extra depth on defense in addition to Thomas Hickey and Sebastian Aho. His Stanley Cup pedigree – he won last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning – adds veteran presence with a bit of know-how. He’s also a big body at 6′ 5″, 224 lbs that can be helpful to get through the grind of the playoffs depending on the opponent.

Contributor David Tuchman

Grade: B+

The Isles went into the deadline with three things to accomplish: 1. Acquire a player who could help our PP and play on the top line (if Trotz thought it was the right way to set the lineup) – without messing up our precarious cap situation for next year. Lou essentially did just that and didn’t overpay while doing so in acquiring Palmieri and Zajac. 2. He added a depth forward that would buy in to Trotz system. With MDC’s injuries, it was clear the Islanders needed bottom 6 depth. In Zajac, the Isles got a smart veteran who can win face-offs, kill penalties and play on any line. 3. 3. Try to kill two birds with one stone. Lou tried to deal for a player and jettison a bad contract out at the same time – prepare for next season. Despite being unsuccessful in this step, the Isles still come out looking good.

Co-Editor-in-Chief Rob Taub

Grade: A-

Lou Lamoriello swung for the fences and that goes beyond acquiring Palmieri, Zajac and Coburn for essentially pennies on the dollar. He was also in on Taylor Hall till the very end which shows how much he believes this group has a chance of being championship-worthy. To come away with the three players mentioned, the Islanders did what had to be done: get better in certain areas. This deadline was about showing that the team assembled at the moment is all-in. There shouldn’t be much to complain about if you’re a supporter of the orange and blue. The message was sent.

Stanley Cup or bust.

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