In June, the New Jersey Devils made the move to acquire Kyle Palmieri from Anaheim.
As far as offseason acquisitions go, it’s harder to find one that’s worked out better for both the player and the club.
Thriving in a larger and expanded role from the one he had as a Duck, Palmieri’s already surpassed his career-high in goals (17) and matched his career best in points (31).
The Devils, meanwhile, have found themselves a potential cornerstone player for the future — assuming a new contract can be worked out.
Per GM Ray Shero, that’s not expected to be a problem.
“The chances of us re-signing him are very good,” Shero explained, per NorthJersey.com. “I don’t want to put a timetable on it or take Kyle’s eye off the ball here in terms of how he’s playing. When you trade for someone like him, that’s what you’re looking to add to your team and I think it’s been a good fit for him and for us.”
Palmieri, 24, is in the last of a three-year, $4.4 million deal with a $1.46M cap hit (and a pending RFA). Per NorthJersey, he’s “open to signing a long-term extension that would take him beyond when he’d be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018.”
If that’s the case, Palmieri figures to get a pretty tidy raise.
At the time of writing, Palmieri’s 17 goals have him sitting 15th in the NHL, tied with the likes of Ryan O'Reilly (he of the $52.5 million contract) and Max Pacioretty (he of the $27 million dollar contract).
While it’s highly, highly unlikely Palmieri gets to those numbers — virtually impossible to match O’Reilly’s mega-deal — it does highlight what agent Steve Bartlett might bring to the negotiating table.
But at the end of the day, Shero’s probably right in saying the Devils’ chances of keeping Palmieri are strong. He’s a local guy, having grown up in Montvale, and the opportunity he’s received in New Jersey was long overdue.
Hindsight being 20/20, one wonders if the Ducks made a mistake in not expanding Palmieri’s role, especially since they used a first-round draft pick on him in 2009.