Last year, when the New York Islanders traded for Kyle Palmieri the assumption was that he would play on the top line with Mathew Barzal in hopes to increase the scoring of that line. Well, that almost rarely happened.
In 16 regular season games, Mathew Barzal and Kyle Palmieri got 21:55 of ice time together at 5v5. As for Palmieri and JG Pageau, they were on the ice together for 83:55 in those same 16 games according to Natural Stat Trick.
Clearly, Palmieri was utilized much more on the third line than the top line. Now, heading into this year with Jordan Eberle gone and Palmieri returned, everyone once again is writing in Palms on the top line, myself included.
But, is there a world where Palmieri goes back to the third line? Arthur Staple who covers the team for The Athletic tends to think so:
A third line of Parise – Pageau – Palmieri is really enticing. All three of those guys are veterans who can play the Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello way while providing depth scoring on this team as well.
The thought of Oliver Wahlstrom up top with Anders Lee and Mat Barzal is really exciting. In a limited sample size, Wahlstrom proved that he can score goal at this level popping in 12 goals in 44 games while playing only 12:23 of ice time.
I love the idea of Wahlstrom and that shot on the top line, I personally would find it hard to believe we see that to start the year based on the last three years of sheltering the youth.
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I hope I’m wrong, because that shot has the potential to be lethal up there, but in all likelihood, I expect to see Kyle Palmieri on line one with Barzy and Lee to start the season.