Kyle Palmieri certainly returned on the Islanders’ investment after he was acquired in April from the New Jersey Devils just before the NHL Trade Deadline.
The veteran forward — who was on the ice as an opponent when Anders Lee was lost for the season with an ACL injury — was the centerpiece of the deal alongside Travis Zajac to help pick up the production lost when the Islanders’ captain went down. While he scored just twice in 17 games at the end of the regular season, he posted seven goals and two assists in 19 games during the Islanders’ run to the Eastern Conference Final.
Not only was the trade a homecoming for the Smithtown, NY native, but it also provided Palmieri with a return to the postseason after some lean years with the Devils; something he was incredibly thankful for.
“It was an incredible experience. I loved every second of it,” Palmieri said during exit interviews. “From the fans to my teammates, to the staff. Everyone was so welcoming. The bonds you build over a short period of time are special.”
But Palmieri was brought on as more of a rental to help get the Islanders across the regular-season finish line and bolster their ranks without Lee heading into the playoffs. With his contract up, he’s an unrestricted free agent where he’ll likely be searching for a contract similar to the five-year, $23.25 million deal he signed back in 2016 with New Jersey.
As it stands, the Islanders don’t have the funds to meet such a number as they currently have approximately $5 million in cap space (h/t CapFriendly) while needing to address the futures of unrestricted free agents, Casey Cizikas and Andy Greene, along with restricted free agents like Anthony Beauvillier and Adam Pelech.
Still, Palmieri certainly sounded like he doesn’t want to play elsewhere.
“Going into the offseason you don’t really know what the future is going to bring, but like I said, I loved every second here,” Palmieri reiterated. “To have that opportunity to be a part of a team like this, it was an incredible opportunity for me and I’d love to keep that going.
“There’s the business side of it and hopefully, something can work its way out. But I just feel incredibly grateful to be a part of this team, and even if it was for that short bit, I’ll remember it forever.”