With preseason underway and the 2014-15 regular season on the horizon, AnaheimDucks.com is previewing each player on the roster, highlighting last season’s accomplishments and providing insight into what you can expect this season. Our preview continues with Kyle Palmieri.
Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri racked up a 14-goal, 31-point season in 71 contests during the 2013-14 campaign, but will have to play catch-up when he eventually makes his return to the lineup. The 23-year-old suffered a high ankle sprain while skating at home in New Jersey during the offseason, but hopes to play in Anaheim’s preseason finale against the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center on October 4.
Though the club is being extra cautious with his injury, head coach Bruce Boudreau expressed optimism regarding Palmieri’s status for the start of the season. “[The injury] happened long enough ago in training that we still feel like he’s going to get into the last preseason game and start the season.”
The 2014-15 season will mark Palmieri’s third full season in the NHL and fifth overall after being selected in the first round (26th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. Palmieri increased his scoring total by 10 points from 2012-13 to 2013-14, and scored three goals in nine games during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Palmieri set career highs in goals, assists (17), points, plus/minus (+9), games played and penalty minutes (38) last season, and posted five multi-point games (two multi-goal).
Perhaps his most memorable moment of his 2013-14 season occurred during Anaheim’s four-game road trip that included stops in Detroit, New York (Islanders), New Jersey and Washington. Though born on Long Island, Palmieri grew up in Montvale, New Jersey, a city which he described as a “typical suburban town." The game at Prudential Center in Newark on December 20 was Palmieri’s homecoming, and he made it a night to remember in front of over 100 friends and family members.
After the Devils tied it late in regulation, forcing the game into overtime, Palmieri received a pass from former Duck Mathieu Perreault in open ice and raced down the right wing into the Devils zone. Palmieri blew past a Devils defenseman and wrapped it around the back of the net and tucked it just inside the left post, beating goaltender Cory Schneider. The victory was Anaheim’s seventh in a row (in the midst of a franchise-best 10 consecutive wins). After the game, Palmieri was greeted by his family and friends who waited outside the Ducks locker room.
“It felt pretty good," said Palmieri after the game. “It was a combination of being at home and being overtime, and the fact that I’ve haven’t scored in over a month. It put a lot of excitement into one goal. It was a pretty cool night and exciting game for everybody. It added a little bit more excitement for the family and friends."
Like teammate Devante Smith-Pelly, Palmieri’s versatility gives him the ability to play up and down the lineup, including the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Boudreau also used him at the point on the power play.
But where Palmieri slots into the lineup once he’s fully healthy remains to be seen. As of September 26, the Ducks have 46 players on their training camp roster, 27 of which are forwards. On the first day of training camp, Ducks general manager Bob Murray made it clear that there will be stiff competition for several positions.
“I can [honestly] tell you that there are some jobs up for grabs this year,” he said. “We have great competition going on for certain jobs here. You can figure out who are they, and I hope the players have it figured out. They’re going to be fighting for them.”