Kyle Palmieri is going home.
The 24-year-old forward was born in New York and raised in New Jersey. He’s played his entire NHL career with the Anaheim Ducks, and as of Friday evening, he goes back to Jersey as a part of the Devils.
As the draft winded to a close (and NBC Sports cut away to a track and field event), the Palmieri trade was announced prior to the final pick of the night. In return, the Ducks receive the 41st pick on Saturday and a 2016 selection.
This is a good pickup for the offensively challenged Devils. Palmieri has a pretty good balance of play making ability and scoring touch with his incredible hands. While the Ducks power play was nothing to write home about, Palmieri found a way to score. This past season, 11 of his 29-points (in 57 games) came on the power play, of which he was assigned to the second unit by Bruce Boudreau.
One knock against Palmieri has always been his size. He’s listed at 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, but that might be generous. Although, he’s not afraid to throw his body around, even if it means he’s getting knocked on his butt in the process. It used to throw him off his game to take a hard hit, but he’s improved to where he’s able to keep his head up and anticipate checks as the come.
Palmieri will become a restricted free agent after the 2015-2016 season. His current contract carries a cap hit of $1.47-million.
Giving up an RFA-to-be is good for the team, even if it hurts Ducks fans feathered hearts. They currently face a cap crisis unlike a lot of teams. There is plenty of space, and Murray has made it clear they aren’t going to spend to the upper limit; yet, they are limited by something called ‘salary cap tagging.’ It’s unbelievably complicated (and boring), but Eric Stephens of the OC Register briefly, and broadly, explains it:
It’s still complicated to me but one thing Murray is concerned with is tagging issues. LImited in how many guys he can extend now.
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) June 27, 2015
The Ducks have a bevy of RFAs this off season and the next, and have to find a way to extend Ryan Kesler beyond next year. In his exit interview, Murray said he was going to have to make a lot of tough decision regarding his team. One of them included prioritizing free agents and possibly letting go of some players before he’d like to in order to build for the future. Palmieri is one of the first sacrificial lambs and likely not the last.
As for the Devils, they used their first round pick (No. 6 overall) on center Pavel Zacha. After sending the 41st pick to Anaheim, New Jersey still has one second round pick remaining at 36th overall. Then they draft at Nos. 67, 97, and 157. The 2016 pick given to Anaheim is said to be a third-rounder. Via General Fanager, the Devils have two in that round, but it hasn’t been specified which one goes to the Ducks.
Note: The trade is more or less done; however, it’s not officially-official by NHL rules. Ian McLaren of The Score explains:
@MsJenNeale_PD NHL took trade off their tracker, deleted tweet announcement. Held up because KP out of country, per Gulitti.
— Ian McLaren (@iancmclaren) June 27, 2015