On Wednesday, the New York Islanders pulled off a big trade adding both Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils. It’s only been two games, so there’s no reason to panic, but it’s been a slow start for them on the Island.
Both Zajac and Palmieri started their Isles tenure on the third line with JG Pageau. That move comes as no surprise as Barry Trotz loves Pageau, and trusts him in any and all situations.
We’ll start with Palmieri, the bigger name at this point in his career. In the first game against Philadelphia on Thursday, he played 15:11 for Trotz. He had two shots on goal and two hits to his name.
He was fine, it was just fairly uneventful. Friday, his ice time went down to 13:54, he had no shots on goal and was a -2. Now, by the end of the game, he did get a chance to play with Mathew Barzal up top. Perhaps that could spark him if he gets more time in a top-six role.
As for Travis Zajac, he too has been on the quiet side. Against Philly, he only got 12:34 of ice time and recorded one shot. Last night, it went up to 15:21 and he had two shots on net and one block.
Looking at Game Scores for the two of them, in their first time out both were below their season average. Palmieri who has averaged a 0.46 came in at 0.37 while Travis Zajac who is normally at 0.37 came in at 0.33. They weren’t awful, just a little more quiet than usual.
Last night was a different story completely. Kyle Palmieri came in at a -0.67 and Zajac was a -0.98 according to Hockey Stat Cards.
Again, I don’t expect this to be a trend, but it would be just flat out wrong to say that the two of them haven’t underwhelmed early in their tenure. Hopefully, Oliver Wahlstrom can get back into the lineup soon adding a little more pop to their forward group.
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With the Wahlstrom return looming, that would give the Isles four lines that they feel comfortable rolling. That’s when the team is at their best.