Despite a 2010-11 season that lasted much longer and was more grueling than anything he had experienced, Kyle Palmieri
saved his finest moments for the latter stages of the 2010-11 campaign.
|“It made a world of difference, just knowing what I need to do and where I need to be at to play at that level,” Palmieri said. “Whether it’s just the style of the play in the AHL or the speed of the game in the NHL, they take away your time and space a lot more." |
At the same time Corey Perry
was catching fire and playing his way to the Hart Trophy in the NHL, Palmieri was setting the American Hockey League ablaze in his final 14 games played with Syracuse. He scored 15 goals (including his second hat trick of the season) and 20 points during that stretch and was named the league’s top rookie for March, a month that saw the Crunch go 10-3-0.
“I attribute a lot to my linemates,” Palmieri said. “I was playing with [Nick] Bonino and he was playing great [14 assists, 18 points in his final 14 games]. A lot of the time, it’s your teammates who really help you out. I was getting a couple of lucky bounces. I was fortunate the team was playing well.”
Prior to signing an entry-level deal with the Ducks on August 3, 2010, the Smithtown, New York product had grown accustomed to playing an average of 30 or so games per season. He was passing that number by January, about the time he was winning a bronze medal after six games with the U.S. at the World Junior Tournament. That added to the gold medal he won, along with Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler
, at the World Juniors in 2010.
Included in that early 2010-11 schedule was a 10-game stint with Anaheim from Nov. 3-19. He scored his first career goal in his debut, tying the Ducks with Tampa Bay in the third period en route to an overtime victory.
“It made a world of difference, just knowing what I need to do and where I need to be at to play at that level,” Palmieri said. “Whether it’s just the style of the play in the AHL or the speed of the game in the NHL, they take away your time and space a lot more. With the guys being a lot more skilled, it’s tougher to beat people one-on-one. You have to really utilize your teammates and try to outnumber guys. That is all the things that I think you learn as you go through it.”
When he returned to Syracuse after the World Juniors had completed in January, the grind was taking somewhat of a toll on Palmieri’s numbers. He put up lowest scoring full month in the AHL, with six points in 12 games. But rather than fall to the wayside, he redoubled his efforts, getting things turned around in February with 12 points. The torrid stretch of March ensued with 12 goals and 15 points in 13 games. He completed 2010-11 with three more goals and five points in five April games, while also getting the chance to play in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals with the Ducks at Nashville.
|“Coming into this year, I know what to expect and what it feels like to be the middle of December, middle of January and just trying to power through that,” Palmieri said. “This year is my second year as a pro and I know what I need to keep my body ready for every game. Hopefully, I can bring it every night." |
“The whole team was playing well at that point,” said Palmieri of the Crunch, who missed the playoffs in finishing sixth out of eight teams in the East Division. “We were playing like a team that had nothing to lose. In all reality, we didn’t. Late March and going into April, a lot of those teams fighting for playoff spots didn’t want to play us because we were one of the hotter teams in the league and we were playing really good hockey at that point.”
Just a few days remain until Palmieri begins his second training camp and there could potentially be some spots available on the Anaheim roster. Fully understanding the rigors of a full professional hockey season this time around, the 20-year-old has his sights set on making the Ducks when they board a plane to Helsinki to begin the 2011-12 season in October.
“Coming into this year, I know what to expect and what it feels like to be the middle of December, middle of January and just trying to power through that,” Palmieri said. “This year is my second year as a pro and I know what I need to keep my body ready for every game. Hopefully, I can bring it every night.
"I’m looking to make some kind of impression in camp and hopefully have a chance to make the team. With Teemu not yet making his decision, there is always that option. There are a couple other spots in the bottom six forwards where there could be a spot open. It’s anyone’s to take. That is my mindset going into camp. Hopefully, I come in, try to steal a spot and hopefully put myself in position to make the team.”