Barry Trotz will start the season with Kyle Palmieri on the top line for the New York Islanders. It feels like this has been in the works since Palmieri was acquired by the Devils at the 2021 trade deadline. And while we saw some top-line ice-time for Palmieri, but nothing was ever consistent.
Now we know it’s coming. Palmieri will play on the top line. We expect that Kyle Palmieri will have a much more productive season because he won’t shoot at 8.7% again this year. But it goes beyond just shooting percentage now that he’s destined to play on the top line.
Kyle Palmieri will have a big year for New York Islanders
By virtue of playing on the top line for the New York Islanders, Palmieri’s minutes will shoot right up. In the 2020-21 regular season, he averaged 14:10 on the ice. That jumped up a bit to 15:35 in the playoffs.
Matt Barzal and Anders Lee play about 18-19 minutes a night on average. We know that in the NHL more time equals more looks, and more looks for a guy like Kyle Palmieri is a good thing.
Palmieri was generating well over half a goal per game in the regular season. According to NaturalStatTrick, Palmieri was good for 0.76 ixG/60 but actually only converted those expected goals at 0.29 a goals/60 clip.
Brock Nelson, who had 18 goals (a pace of 26 over 82 games) was creating at the same rate as Palmieri (0.76 ixG/60). The difference was Brock converted those expected goals at a 0.78 goals/60 clip.
And I know this sounds like I’m making the shooting percentage argument all over again, only with fancy stats this time. But, this gives a bit more context to the shooting percentage issue. Palmieri was creating chances at the rate you’d expect him to create.
It wasn’t an issue of random shots for low danger areas. Palmieri was just as effective as he normally is at creating goals, but for some reason, they weren’t going in this year.
Of course, we saw that change in the playoffs with 0.87 ixG/60 and 1.43 goals/60.
Now give him an extra two-and-half to three minutes more a night with better players in Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee. Lookout. I don’t think we just see a return to his old self for Kyle Palmieri, I think we see a Palmieri that hasn’t been seen since 2015-16 where he scored 30 goals and 57 points.
This is going to be a big year for top-line winger Kyle Palmieri.