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Islanders Need More Out Of Kyle Palmieri & Travis Zajac

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 09: Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New York Islanders skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the New York Rangers at Nassau Coliseum on April 09, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 09: Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New York Islanders skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the New York Rangers at Nassau Coliseum on April 09, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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It’s been nearly three weeks since the New York Islanders acquired both Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac in a trade. Palmieri has played nine games as an Islander and Zajac eight, so combined it’s a 17 game sample size, and they haven’t done enough.

They have a combined four points over that stretch for the Islanders. That’s not going to cut it considering they gave up a first-round pick to land both of these players.

We’ll start with Palmieri who is supposed to be the goal scorer of the two. In his nine games, his lone goal came on the man advantage. At 5v5 he hasn’t done much of anything for the Isles since they acquired him.

His CF% is just 48.19 and his SCF% dropped from a solid 54.34 with the Devils to a measly 46.81 during his time with the Islanders according to Natural Stat Trick.

In order to get both him and the Mat Barzal line going, I would advise the Islanders to move Palmieri up to line one. So far, he’s been in a third-line role, which doesn’t fit his skill set best considering who he’s playing with.

Barzal and Palmieri have only played 8:04 together through eight games, ideally, that changes in the near future. I know Trotz likes to have a bigger guy who can crash and bang with Barzal and Jordan Eberle but with the lack of offense, it’s time for some skill.

As for Travis Zajac, he’s been all over the lineup and can play either wing or center. He has two points (1 goal, 1 assist) through eight games while averaging 15:12 per night. Now, as I said when they were both acquired, I don’t think you can have two all righty lines and one all lefty line so I recommended putting Zajac on line two.

I think I’d play Zajac with Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson in hopes of finding him some consistency. A lineup like this is probably ideal:

Palmieri – Barzal – Eberle

Beauvillier – Nelson – Zajac

Bailey – Pageau – Wahlstrom

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

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At this point, Barry Trotz has to try something different. They’ve been brutal at 5v5 for too long to continue running out the same lines night in and night out, and both Palmieri and Zajac need a spark.

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