As the hockey season exits the month of November, the New Jersey Devils changed up practice lines during their first road trip where they lost six out of seven games. Following their most recent 2-1 deficit against the Carolina Hurricanes, where they scored two goals within the first 30 seconds against Cory Schneider in the first period, fans may be forgetting which Devil made history at the beginning of the regular season.
Kyle Palmieri was the first player in the NHL to score the opening goal in four back-to-back games, making history and contributing to his team leader status. The 20-point forward has played a total of 19 games alongside top linemates Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier, who is currently out with a left wrist injury as Travis Zajac fulfills the top line.
What Else To Expect From Palmieri
Palmieri may have already entered the prime of his career but looking back to last season, he only played 62 games due to a knee injury after a hit from Avalanche's Erik Johnson. Throughout 62 games, Palms racked up 24 goals and 20 assists totaling 44 points.
He has continued to be a consistent producer and can easily become an elite NHL goal scorer. With that being said, Palmieri should be able to top 30 goals and reach over 60 points this season. His linemates are also a large contribution to his success especially with Hall's playmaking skills and Hischier's speed.
With a healthy Palmieri and an MVP linemate, his numbers should rapidly increase. Discussing high ranked players similar to TJ Oshie and Ryan Johansen, Palmieri is 30th in the NHL with 80 total goals in just his first three seasons with New Jersey. If he can continue putting up points, especially on the power play, 30 goals can be easily topped.
The 27-year old reached 30 goals in his first year with the Devils back in the 2015-2016 season. His power play goals and points have been gradually increasing aside from his absence of last year. With Palmieri's powerful one-timers, the Devils can expect elite performance from one of their top forwards.
Is Palmieri Underrated in the League?
The Devils' top line would not be completed without their current point leader. Yes, Hall is the recent Hart Trophy winner and Hischier was drafted first overall in 2017, but Palmieri's most dangerous advantage may just be that he is underrated.
What sets Palmieri apart from his linemates is not just the beard. He has been a huge organizational addition and during just his first season in New Jersey his goals per game average (.357) landed him a spot in between Artemi Panarin and Max Pacioretty. He is powerful, productive, and a leader. Any team in the league that does not see that should fear the beard.
His production on the ice may be missed by the Anaheim Ducks who traded him away just for two of New Jersey's draft picks. He is a prominent force who has stellar on-ice chemistry with his line. Due to his knee injury last season, the eyes remained on Hall. However, Palmieri can break into the elite level and has what it takes to be a top-15 scorer. The name is not considered underrated in the state of New Jersey, but a healthy Palms and a full beard may be a surprise to others.