Special to AnaheimDucks.comKyle Palmieri
finished his first professional season in April on a hot streak with 15 goals and 20 points over his final 14 games.
He has yet to cool off through the first few games of the 2011-12 campaign. The 20-year-old has tallied sevne points (five goals, two assists) in three games and was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week on Monday.
“The whole team is off to a pretty good start and my whole line is clicking well,” said Palmieri. “I owe a whole lot to them and they’re making it real easy to play out there and create space.
“I’ve been scoring a couple of goals and I think going forward we’re going to continue this momentum. We finished last season pretty strong. Coming into this season we wanted to do the same thing. So far we have a lot of chemistry and that will go a long way to helping this team win.”
A 2009 Ducks first round draft selection (26th overall), Palmieri has more than demonstrated his offensive prowess as well as a flair for the dramatic with an overtime game-winner to open the season.
“He’s an offensive guy and sometimes you need to take the good with the bad and I think that’s why he’s here,” said Syracuse head coach Mark Holick. “He needs to round out his game and learn to play 200 feet including our zone and be willing to take the puck into those hard areas.
“Arguably he’s our best player and he’s a guy who has to score for us. With a guy as offensively gifted as that, you need to let them be creative but sometimes we need him to put the puck ahead of him and drive it into those hard areas.”
The native of Smithtown, New York who was mostly raised in northern New Jersey has three World Junior experiences on his resume including helping Team USA to a bronze medal last January in Buffalo where he tied for the team lead in scoring.
Before turning pro, Palmieri spent two seasons with the U.S. National Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan under current Rochester Americans head coach Ron Rolston. Prior to that, he attended Saint Peter’s Prep in New Jersey and played with the New Jersey Devils junior program.
One season with Notre Dame followed where he finished 10th in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in rookie scoring with 17 points in 33 games. Then he became only the second Irish player ever selected in the first round of the draft (the first was defenseman Ian Cole, who was taken 18th overall by St. Louis in 2007).
“He’s a sniper,” said Rolston after a recent Rochester-Syracuse game, where Palmieri scored the first goal of the game into the top right corner. “You can’t give him a puck at the dots because it’s usually in (the net).”
The right handed shooter also was the lone representative from Syracuse in the AHL All-Star Game last season in Hershey, Pennsylvania and registered a shot of 95.3 MPH in the skills competition hardest shot event.
“Shooting the puck is what I do best and creating offense," Palmieri said. "I’m just trying to get most of those shots on net and hopefully they’ll go in for me just like they are now. Hopefully going forward I’ll get an opportunity to play with the Ducks, but I’m focused on playing for Syracuse and rounding out my game."