Right wing Kyle Palmieri
, taken by the Anaheim Ducks
with the 26th pick of the 2009 Entry Draft, has signed a three-year entry-level contract.
"It was really exciting," Palmieri said at USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp at Lake Placid, N.Y., on Tuesday after the Ducks announced the signing. "I'm really excited to be a part of Anaheim's organization and be signed on with them. I'm really looking forward to this year and trying to make a good first season as a professional hockey player.
Palmieri, 19, completed his freshman season at the University of Notre Dame recording 9 goals and 17 points in 33 games. He tied for first in scoring on the team among freshmen and tied for 10th in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in scoring by freshmen. The 5-10, 191-pound forward was also a member of Team USA's gold medal-winning squad at the 2010 World Junior Championship. Palmieri had 1 goal and 9 points in seven games during the tournament, ranking third on the team in scoring and second in assists.
"Coming out of my freshman year at (Notre Dame), I didn't do as well as I thought I would or hoped I would," he said. "Our team didn't have that much success either, so I was going into the summer knowing this was a big summer for me. (I) wanted to make a big impact on my sophomore year at Notre Dame, wanted to go to Anaheim's camp and make a good impression. After that I talked to the general manager and the front office guys and they thought it would be best for my hockey career to make the jump to pro hockey early.
"I signed last Friday and trying to keep it quiet as far as camp so there's no distractions. I'm pretty excited about it. We've got a rookie tournament coming up in the middle of September in British Columbia. That's what's next for me."
A native of Smithtown, N.Y., Palmieri totaled 15 goals and 30 points, including four game-winning goals with the U.S. Under-18 team in 2008-09. In 2007-08, he finished second on the U.S. National Under-17 team in goals and fourth in points (20-10-30). He also participated in the 2008 Under-18 World Championship in Kazan, Russia, helping Team USA to a bronze medal with 2 goals and 4 points in seven games. At the 2008 Five Nations Tournament, he scored a hat trick to lead the U.S. to a gold medal in a 5-3 victory over Finland.