Last year wasn’t a great year for Kyle Palmieri, at least statistically that is. In the regular season, split between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders, Palmieri scored ten goals in 51 games.
That’s a pace of 16 goals over an 82 game season. He hasn’t paced out to so few goals since 2013-14 when he was averaging 11:57 of ice time with the Anaheim Ducks.
Again, it wasn’t a great year statically for him. But still, the Islanders (officially) signed him to a four-year deal with a $5 million AAV.
New York Islanders have faith Kyle Palmieri can bounce back
Clearly, Lou Lamoriello believes what we saw from Kyle Palmieri during the regular season won’t be sustained through this four-year deal. And it’s hard to disagree with that.
I keep referencing the regular season for a reason. Because when it came to the playoffs, Palmieri was that consistent goal threat the Isles thought he could be when they traded for him at the deadline.
In 19 games during the 2021 Cup run, Palmieri scored seven goals on 35 shots for a 20% shooting percentage. Now, I’m not here to tell you that Palmieri will convert a fifth of his shots to goals in 2021, but it’s clear even in this Islanders system that he can perform at the rate they need him to.
We also have to remember that Palmieri has yet to play with Anders Lee and rarely played with Mathew Barzal (54:59 in 5on5 ice time during the regular season and playoffs). With this signing, it’s easy to think that Palmieri will be on the top line with Lee and Barzal.
Again, a 20% shooting percentage is not sustainable for Palmieri over a full year (his best return was 16.1% in 2019-20). But if he’s converting at his career average (12.8%) he’ll give the Isles what they want.
And that’s why Lou Lamoriello was comfortable to hand Palmieri $20 million over the next four years. He’ll be good for it.