Islanders: Three lineups assuming Kyle Palmieri acquired by trade

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MARCH 19: Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils stretches during warmups before the game against the Washington Capitals at Prudential Center on March 19, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MARCH 19: Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils stretches during warmups before the game against the Washington Capitals at Prudential Center on March 19, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders trade target Kyle Palmieri (21) before his game against the Buffalo Sabres at Prudential Center. (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders trade target Kyle Palmieri (21) before his game against the Buffalo Sabres at Prudential Center. (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The trade deadline is over a week away, with the New Jersey Devils keeping Kyle Palmieri off the ice for precautionary reasons, here are a few New York Islanders lineups if they land the winger.

At this point, it feels inevitable that the New York Islanders will trade for New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri. The Devils winger was kept off the ice for precautionary measures on Saturday and all eyes turned towards the Islanders.

No trade has been worked out just yet, but, again, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Palmieri is traded. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d look at a few lineup choices if the Islanders land the veteran winger.

On the Vet Line

Beauvillier-Barzal-Eberle
Bailey-Nelson-Palmieri
Komarov/Dal Colle-Pageau-Wahlstrom
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Adding Palmieri restores some balance across the top six. Leo Komarov is taken off Mathew Barzal‘s line and placed on Pageau’s line (until Dal Colle returns). It’s the best spot of Leo who’s done about as well as we’d expect from him on the top line.

The trio of Beau-Barzal-Eberle has been excellent in limited ice-time this season. With the way Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal have been playing of late (separately) why not group together the two hottest hands on the team?

With the right-handed Palmieri, Bailey can move over to a more natural left-wing spot on Nelson’s line. The three veterans should prove to be an effective two-way line with some real punch having two 20+ goal scorers together in Nelson and Palmieri.

The bottom six stays pretty much intact. The only change is Leo taking Ross Johnston‘s spot on Pageau’s line.

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 25: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his first period goal against the Boston Bruins along with Jordan Eberle #7 at Nassau Coliseum on February 25, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 25: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his first period goal against the Boston Bruins along with Jordan Eberle #7 at Nassau Coliseum on February 25, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

All Righty Top Line

Palmieri-Barzal-Eberle
Beauvillier-Nelson-Bailey
Komarov-Pageau-Wahlstrom
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Barry Trotz likes stability. He doesn’t want to move too much around if he doesn’t have to. Specifically when it’s working. But if Lou was to bring in Kyle Palmieri, the veteran coach would be forced into at least one change. The easy move to make, one that has minimal impact on the roster is putting Palmieri on the top line with Barzal and Jordan Eberle while moving Leo down to line three.

That top-line now has three righties, which isn’t always great. Ideally, a lefty is on the left-wing so that they can receive passes on their strong side (and on an open stick and not on the backhand). But it’s not as if having three righties on a single line is the end of the world. Righties often play on the left.

A strong second line of Beau-Nelson-Bailey sticks together to be that strong two-way trio.  Over the last five games, the trio has combined for 15 points. Beauvillier has six, Bailey has five, and Brock has four. Why break them up?

Pageau and Wahlstrom have been quiet for a few games, but we all knew that was going to happen. At some point, the top six will have sorted itself out offensively and with that Trotz would rely less on Pageau and Wahlstrom to get things going offensively.

The duo is still strong away from the puck and doing all the “right things” so it’s not as if they’ve disappeared. With a strong top-six, it’s clear some of the defensive attention they’ve been receiving will no longer be there, which should open things up for them.

Anthony Beauvillier #18 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Anthony Beauvillier #18 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Shuffle It Up

Beauvillier-Barzal-Palmieri
Bailey-Nelson-Eberle
Dal Colle-Pageau-Wahlstrom
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

If the Islanders are acquiring Kyle Palmieri, why not take the chance and mix things up a little?

We know that Palmieri is a top-line player. Sure, his numbers might not be great this year. His 17 points in 34 games has him on pace for a 41 point year (over 82 games). That would be his lowest as a Devil.

His most common linemates this season have been Jack Hughes (296 minutes of shared 5on5 ice-time) and Pavel Zacha (129 minutes of shared 5on5 ice-time). What happens when Palmieri plays with a better player like Mathew Barzal?

Moving Eberle down to the second line isn’t the demotion it looks like. Both he and Brock Nelson have already spent some time together (108 minutes of shared 5on5 ice time) this season and were productive with it:

  • CF%: 57.01
  • xGF%: 54.17
  • SCF%: 57.00
  • HDCF%: 56.82

Dal Colle, who was playing a strong game before being injured would certainly step in on the third line while Leo Komarov sits out. Until MDC is back, Leo stays in the squad.

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The fourth line remains intact across all three lineups. There’s absolutely NO reason to change any of those three out. The identity line has been flawless since struggling early in the season.

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