It’s all but certain at this point that Kyle Palmieri will be traded by the New Jersey Devils. The veteran forward was held out of Sunday’s game with the Washington Capitals for what the team called “precautionary reasons.”
His agency, Bartlett Hockey, confirmed via social media that Palmieri was being held out in “anticipation of a trade in the coming days or week(s).” The question now becomes will that trade be with the New York Islanders or another club?
The Islanders have been linked to Palmieri for some time now and the addition of the 30-year-old winger would make all the sense in the world for New York, especially with Anders Lee out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury. Palmieri brings leadership qualities and versatility that Barry Totz and Lou Lamoriello value so highly.
While Palmieri hasn’t put up massive offensive numbers this season, he has shown over the course of his career that the Smithtown, Long Island native can be a consistent 20-plus goal scorer.
Now the appeal of Kyle Palmieri doesn’t stop at just his on-ice value, but the cost that it would take to bring him to Long Island. He would be an unrestricted free agent after this season and he only carries a $4.65 million cap hit this year, so the Islanders would still have room to make any secondary deals before the deadline passed without feeling the cap crunch.
And he’ll likely come at a reasonable rate, which the Islanders should have the pieces to afford it.
The Islanders traded away their second-round this year to New Jersey as part of a deal to acquire Andy Greene last season, but they were able to pick up Colorado’s second-round pick in this year’s draft in the deal that sent Devon Toews out west. Now the Islanders have a second-round pick this season and two next year — one of which is Colorado’s from the Toews deal as well — and any combination of those picks could be used as part of a deal for Palmieri.
The Islanders prospect pool isn’t necessarily as deep as it once was, but there are still several players that would catch the eye of New Jersey — or other teams — in a deal for Palmieri.
Defenseman Robin Salo or forward Blade Jenkins would fit the bill as the type of prospect the Islanders would likely include as part of the deal. Salo has had a good season for Orebro in Sweden with 30 points (six goals, 24 assists), while Jenkins put up 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in 47 games with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit and has appeared in four games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this year.
It’s unlikely Lamoriello would include Kieffer Bellows in a deal for Kyle Palmieri since that might be more than what the Islanders would be will to give up in that situation. While Bellows may not be in a deal for Palmieri, he could end up on the move before the deadline next Monday.
“Kieffer’s going to be a really good pro,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz recently said. “Lots of detail. He can score. He’s got a really good shot. Down the stretch, Kieffer’s going to be a pretty important piece for us.”
The Islanders have the pieces to get a deal done with New Jersey to bring Palmieri to Long Island and they have a history with New Jersey that sets the stage for it to happen.