Looking at Kyle Palmieri's history, his year to year over an 82-game schedule indicates that he had a down year. There's truth to that, but when he finally figured it out, he really figured it out. It, unfortunately, didn't help the New York Islanders creep back into playoff position, but it was an encouraging sign that GM Lou Lamoriello didn't make a mistake signing him for the next three years.
This is a continuation of the player-level report cards that we started this offseason. You can read the other ones here:
-New York Islanders (Team Level Report Card)
New York Islanders 21-22 report card: Kyle Palmieri
With the New Jersey Devils, Palmieri was a consistent 25-plus goal scorer having reached that mark or passing it from 2015 to 2020 including a 30-goal season in 2015-16. In that same five-year span, he only didn't reach 25 goals once in 2017-18 where he scored 24, but only played in 62 contests. That's the Palmieri the Islanders thought they were getting.
His playoff performance in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs indicated the Isles indeed acquire the scorer they sought, however, a rough start to the 2021-22 season only saw Palmieri pot one goal in his first 29 games. He came unhinged over his next 40 games, scoring 14 goals and finishing the season with 33 points. That 40-game stretch is the Palmieri the Islanders signed up for and they believe they'll see more consistency from him in the 2022-23 season.
Palmieri led all Islander forwards this season with an xGF% of 50.91%. Even in his scoring drought, his xGF% was relatively close to that number indicating the scoring chances were there and he was more unlucky than he was good. He missed time this season, much like every other skater not named Zach Parise, only appearing in 69 contests. His goal pace over an 82-game stretch is about 18 goals which is quite good considering how his season started. For the slow start but finally breaking through, Palmieri's offense gets a solid B.
Palmieri doesn't get enough credit for being as good of a two-way player as he is. His 5on5 relative xGA-per-60 was actually quite good at a -0.19, fifth among all forwards who skated in 300 or more minutes this season.
The argument that Palmieri played on a good line can't even be made here, either. He was often shuffled between the first three lines playing with Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, or J.G. Pageau. Palmieri was good defensively all on his own preventing scoring chances and more often creating chances offensively. He's a bit of a hound on his opponent in his own end of the ice and for that, he gets an A-.
Impact vs. Reliance: B
Of all the veteran forwards on the Islanders in the top nine, Palmieri skates in 200 fewer minutes than all of them. Factor in the time he missed on paternity leave, injury, and Covid protocol, which explains the total minutes. However, he also ranks seventh out of eight veteran forwards in TOI/G with 15:37. Had he figured out his scoring woes earlier in the season, he might have been utilized a little more when the Islanders were down late in a game and needed someone to make an impact.
The interesting contrast here is how impactful Palmieri was when he was on the ice. Only two forwards, Nelson and Barzal, had a bigger impact on the ice than Palmieri's 0.55 game score which is .06 more points than the next best skater. It's possible Palmieri could have been near the top with Nelson had he not been so snake-bitten through the first 29 games. Because he wasn't as relied on as others yet still made an impact when he was on the ice, Palmieri gets a solid B here.
Final Result: B
A slow start to the season despite the analytics suggesting he should have been better than the raw results and finishing the season quite well gives Palmieri a solid B grade on the season. He won't hang it on his fridge, but he'll take it as motivation to be better next season.