As the February 23rd NHL trade deadline approached, many Devils fans were wondering the fate of Kyle Palmieri since his name was proverbially tossed in the hat of possible trade deals.
Why wasn’t Kyle Palmieri traded?
Interim GM Tom Fitzgerald probably never seriously considered parting ways with one of the top Devils offensive producers the past few years.
In order to better understand the role, Kyle Palmieri plays with the Devils, his numbers this past season need to be looked at. In 65 games before the NHL league suspension, Palmieri was an offensive powerhouse for the Devils by scoring 25 goals and 20 assists for 45 points.
Palmieri is a first liner and worked well with Nico Hischier and he was frequently used on the power play special teams unit by head coaches John Hynes and his interim replacement Alain Nasreddine. Kyle Palmieri provides a level of offensive consistency and maturity that is sorely needed by the Devils. Ever since Palmieri came over via trade from the Anaheim Ducks in 2015, he has produced at least 30 goals each season and certainly was on target to score that many this season before the enforced hiatus.
Palmieri will be approaching the last year of his contract worth $4.65 million dollars and the Devils will almost certainly entertain the possibility of extending his contract out for a number of years by July 1st.
Veterans like Kyle Palmieri are the type of players that the Devils desperately need during this time of transition.
Not only does Palmieri play on the first line with Nico Hischier, but he also provides a level of veteran leadership and mentoring both in the locker room and on the ice.
As the Devils youth movement encompassing the talents of Hischier, Jack Hughes and Mackenzie Blackwood further develop into the future of the organization, these young players will certainly seek out a team veteran to be a guiding force and help them during this re-building timeframe. Other veterans such as PK Subban may also begin to step up with Palmieri to become team mentors in the locker room as the Devils and the NHL are looking more and more each day towards next season.
With planning for the next season well underway, fans should expect to see a much-improved version of the Devils and should also expect players such as Kyle Palmieri to step up as a possible team captain and help guide his team to a Stanley Cup playoff run.
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