Trade deadline moves set New York Islanders up for deep run

J.G. Pageau, Andy Greene

After years of staying quiet at the trade deadline, Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders have finally come to life.

The very hectic 2020 trade deadline has come and gone, and the New York Islanders have finally done some good work. Historically, they have been one of the quietest teams around this time of year, so the fact that they made acquisitions this time around gave their fans a breath of fresh air.

On Feb. 16, the Islanders acquired defenseman Andy Greene from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for young defenseman David Quenneville and a 2021 second-round draft pick.

Yes, there were critics. Giving up Quenneville, who is a 21-year-old, wasn’t a big deal since he’s been disappointing in the ECHL and the AHL. But the draft pick may have been too much, especially since it’s a high one. To add to that, even though the Islanders needed defensive help after Adam Pelech went down with a season-ending Achilles injury on Jan. 2, Greene was definitely surprising.

Greene, 37, had a no-movement clause in his five-year, $25 million contract, of which he is in his final year. However, the veteran is still a capable player who will bring positives to an Islanders team that’s trying to gear up for a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For one, Greene is left-handed, which is huge because that defensive corps is stacked with righties. Plus, he is extremely efficient on the penalty kill. Greene, who has been reunited with Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, was signed by the executive as an undrafted prospect in 2006.

Greene was the captain of the Devils where he compiled 246 points in 932 games, which is good for seventh in franchise history. Not only will he provide talent to the team, but he will also be a strong and important veteran presence in the locker room and for a very young defense.

The biggest move the Islanders made, however, was acquiring center Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Ottawa Senators. In exchange, the Islanders sent Ottawa some draft picks: a conditional 2020 first-rounder that becomes a 2021 first-rounder if the Islanders end up picking top-three this year, a 2020 second-rounder, and a conditional 2022 third-rounder that the Senators will only receive if the Islanders win the Stanley Cup this year.

This may seem like an overpay to many, but Pageau is having a career year: The 27-year-old has 24 goals and 16 assists in 60 games. He has already set a career-high in goals and is on track to do the same in assists.

Immediately upon trading for him, the Islanders proceeded to sign Pageau, who would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer, to a six-year, $30 million deal with a full no-trade clause in his first two years. That NTC turns into a partial-clause after two seasons.

Pageau is an efficient two-way player who now gives the team incredible depth at center. When healthy, the four centers will likely be Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Pageau, and Casey Cizikas, which is outstanding. The Islanders have had a huge problem when it comes to scoring goals, and Pageau should be just the man to fix this issue.

In any event, the fact that both Greene and Parise were willing to waive their no-move clauses and that Pageau was willing to sign a long-term deal to stay in New York shows that the team is on the right path forward. The Islanders have had it rough lately but these additions, as well as injured players getting healthy, should help them get back on track and make a deep run.

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