Kyle Palmieri has emerged as one of the most dynamic forwards on the Devils, and is now an addition to team USA for the World Cup. He and teammate Adam Henrique were two of only 28 players league wide to hit the 30 goal mark, and were two of the few bright spots for the Devils offense last season. Along with these 30 goals, Palmieri exploded to a career high in points to 57, up from his previous best of 31.
Taking a glance at Palmieri’s time in Anaheim, his team before being traded to the Devils for a second and third round pick, shows he was ready to break out. He cemented his role as a roster player in the NHL in the 2012-12 season, where he finished with 21 points in 42 games. Before this Palmieri was a near point per game player in the AHL, and was a first round pick in 2009 draft. Why did the Ducks give him up as he was trending upwards?
The simple answer is depth. The ducks had the issue of having too many bodies and not enough spots for them. Palmieri averaged just over 14 minutes of ice time in the 2012-13 season, and the Ducks finished tied for first in the Western Conference. Obviously the regular season went very well for them. In the playoffs, the Ducks were one game away from appearing the Stanley Cup Final, and Palmieri saw even less ice time, at just over 13 minutes. Again, their strategy was doing well, even though a potentially great player was not playing a great deal.
When the trade between the Devils and Ducks was announced, Ducks GM Bob Murray knew he was giving up a player with great potential. The move was made as Palmieri was due to breakout, and with his contract only having one year left, the Ducks wanted a return before losing him in free agency for nothing.
While coming to the Devils did not magically make Palmieri better, he did play almost 18 minutes a game, and saw good power play time. With the addition of Taylor Hall to the Devils roster, a top line of Hall, Henrique, Palmieri seems like a great trio, but is also where we can speculate further. Palmieri played most of last season alongside Travis Zajac, and may be wise to break up the two 30 goal scorers to have a more balanced scoring threat. As we have seen with NHL lines, they can get blown up in an instant. Nick Lappin or Miles Wood could jump around the roster as wingers, Zacha might centre the second line, half the roster could get injured, anything could happen.
At least the Devils have a great player that will not leave to go home. He better not start a new trend of players that want to leave home…
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