EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — New York Islanders right winger Kyle Palmieri made his first appearance at training camp on Wednesday after dealing with an undisclosed injury that he picked up during offseason preparations.
“I felt good today,” Palmieri said. “It was nice to get back with the group and start working toward getting ready for the season.”
The 32-year-old had been skating on his own throughout the opening two weeks of camp, according to head coach Lane Lambert, but was continuously considered day-to-day. He’s optimistic that he’ll be ready to go for the opening night of the regular season on Oct. 14 against the Buffalo Sabres.
“It was tough,” Palmieri, who didn’t disclose what area of the body was impacted, said of his absence. “It’s an important part of the year and you can get ready and get back into the swing of things. So skating on my own can only do so much.”
This is an important year for the veteran, who has dealt with injury issues throughout his two-plus-year stint with the Islanders after being acquired from the New Jersey Devils during the 2020-21 season. He missed 13 games two years ago and an additional 27 last year due to concussion issues.
Because of this, his production has been limited. In 141 games with the Islanders, he’s scored just 33 goals after averaging 26 goals per season from 2015-2020.
Entering the 2023-24 campaign, though, there is reason for optimism. Palmieri is slated to re-join New York’s second line of center Brock Nelson and left winger Pierre Engvall — a unit that was the team’s most productive force down the homestretch last year to help clinch a playoff berth.
“I think [we’re] just going out there trying to just have fun and play hockey,” Nelson said of Palmieri’s first day back. “Nothing changes, nothing is different… but it’s fun to have him back out there and if we end up playing again together, hopefully we’ll connect right away.”
In just 14 regular-season games together, the trio posted 15 goals with a plus-9 goal differential.
“We had some experience playing together at the end of last year and then in the playoffs and I thought we played well together,” Palmieri said. “We read off each other well and those are two easy guys to play with. They’re big, they’re fast, they’re good with the puck, protecting it, and carrying it up the ice so I just have to be there to support them.”