NY Islanders Plus/Minus for 2023-24: Kyle Palmieri Needs To Stay Healthy

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Four
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Four / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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In five seasons with the Devils, Palmieri scored between 24 and 30 goals every year. In 2021-2022, his first full year with the Isles, he scored just 15. But this past year, he scored 16 - in just 55 games, on pace for 24 goals in a full season.

In my article on Bo Horvat a few days ago, I talked about shot percentage. Quick summary - shot percentage (the percentage of shots on goal that wind up being goals) generally doesn't change too much over a player's career. It can improve, if a player makes a change to their shot mechanic, or starts taking shots from closer to the net, but large and sudden changes in shot % tend to be caused by luck. Over time, shot percentage will tend to return to the player's career average ("regression to the mean", if you want to be fancy about it).

This is highly relevant for Palmieri, whose shot percentage with the Devils was 13.6%. During those five years, his season shot percentage always stayed between 12.1% and 16.1%. Not a lot of variation. His first year with the Isles? 9.6%.

As I said about Horvat, players don't just forget how to shoot. That will tend to even itself out over time. And this past year, it did, as Palms's shot percentage jumped back to 13.1%.

Why is that good news? Well, it confirms (or at least strongly suggests) what logic, and the eye test, would imply - Palmieri didn't just forget how to score. He generated lots of chances and simply got unlucky, especially in his first year. If he can stay healthy (big if - we'll get to that), I expect his shot percentage to stay somewhere around 13-15%, which would put him on pace for around 25-30 goals.

Another important aspect of Palms's game - he shows up when it matters most. We've only been talking about regular season games so far, but in 25 playoff games with the Isles, he scored 9 goals (a 30-goal pace), including an iconic overtime winner in Game 1 against Pittsburgh.