It's been the season from hell for Kyle Palmieri with the New York Islanders. After the Islanders traded for Palmieri last year, the veteran winger struggled in the regular season with just two goals and four points in 17 games.
The playoffs were a different animal though. He netted seven goals in 19 games, which was much more like the player the Islanders were hoping for when they traded for him.
Well, right now Palms is on the shelf with a lower-body injury but when he comes back it sounds like his spot is not guaranteed.
That sounds like a benching warning to me. It's totally understandable too when you look at his production before the injury. He has one goal and seven points in 25 games, that's not nearly enough for what he was brought back to do this season.
Actually, if you go back the previous 11 games before the injury, Palmieri was held without a point. We can preach underlying numbers and generating chances all we want but if the puck isn't finding its way into the back of the net and other players are doing so, he'll sit.
This is the same logic that Barry Trotz used with Anthony Beauvillier when he sat and guess what, it worked. A benching of Kyle Palmieri for let's say Kieffer Bellows who is playing really good hockey right now. He has four points in his last five games including goals in back to back games. How can Barry Trotz take him out of the lineup when he's one of the few guys producing?
Also, with COVID and injuries there's absolutely a world where Kyle Palmieri and Kieffer Bellows both end up playing in the same lineup. With the Isles trying to make up ground, Trotz can't afford to play favorites. If Bellows is still producing when Palmieri is ready to return than he will stick in the lineup.