Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello made a deal with the Devils on Wednesday, acquiring veteran forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from his former team for multiple draft picks and minor-league players, the teams announced Wednesday.
The Devils landed the Islanders’ first-round pick in 2021, a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022 or 2023 and forwards A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst.
The trade between the two division rivals marks the first major move ahead of Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
The Islanders are tied for first place in the East Division and gearing up for another playoff run after falling two games short of the final last season, while the Devils are second-to-last in the division and in the midst of a rebuild.
Palmieri, a right wing who grew up in New Jersey, but was born in Smithtown, L.I., was considered one of the top players on the trade market after he and the 27th-place Devils couldn’t reach a contract extension in recent weeks.
Despite having just eight goals and nine assists in 34 games this season, the 30-year-old has been most of the most productive goal scorers in recent years, tallying 140 goals in 397 games with the Devils in six seasons.
He will be expected to add more firepower to an Islanders offense ranked 12th in the NHL and without captain Anders Lee, who suffered a knee injury last month against the Devils and is out for the season.
Zajac, whom Lamoriello drafted with a first-round draft pick in 2004, has played all of his 1,024 games in a Devils uniform, ranking third in franchise history with 202 goals and 550 points. He is fourth in games played and fifth in assists (348).
The center, who waived his no-trade clause for the deal to be completed, has seven goals and 11 assists in 33 games this season. Zajac, who was the longest-tenured Devil, is strong defensively and on the penalty kill.
The Devils will retain 50 percent of both players’ salary the rest of the season. Palmieri is in the final year of a five-year, $23.25 million contract, while Zajac has one year left on an eight-year, $46 million deal.
Greer, a 24-year-old left-winger, had two points in 10 games with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate Bridgeport this season. The former second-round pick of the Avalanche in 2015 had 16 goals and 16 assists in 47 games last season.
Jobst, 27, went undrafted out of Ohio State. The 5-foot-8 left-winger has two assists in six games for Bridgeport this year, and had five goals and eight assists in 44 games during his professional season in 2020.
Both are expected to join the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Binghamton.
The Devils, who have made the playoffs just once since losing in the final in 2012, are in the midst of a rebuilding process that has been underway since Lamoriello, the 78-year-old hockey Hall of Famer, resigned in 2015 to join the Maple Leafs.
Lamoriello has served as the Islanders president and GM since 2018, and hasn’t been afraid to deal with his old team. Last season, Lamoriello acquired then-Devils captain Andy Greene, whom Lamoriello first signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006, for prospect David Quenneville and a second-round pick in 2021.