Our sign ’em, let ’em walk, or trade ’em round table continues just nine days before the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft. Today, we’re discussing Kyle Palmieri. A few things may need to happen before general manager, Lou Lamoriello, can offer the Long Island native an extension, but let’s see the Islesblog team’s thoughts on the matter.
Sign ‘em: IF the Seattle Kraken help the Islanders and take Jordan Eberle off the books. Palmieri stated he wants to stay, so he could sign for fewer dollars and give the Isles some wiggle room for some of their RFAs and Casey Cizikas. He could replace Eberle on the first line, or continue on the third line if Wahlstrom receives a promotion. Either way, he plays like an Islander, he’d surely be welcomed back.
Sign ’em: IF your free agency plans take a total turn and the money is there. We saw in the playoffs how good he can be in terms of goal scoring, and it was a shame we didn’t get to see him possibly playing with a healthy Anders Lee or for a long stretch with Mathew Barzal. Those are two major benefactors of bringing him back. But it’s also got to be at a reasonable price. He’s going to be a hot commodity…and for good reason. Maybe giving him the incentive of playing in front of family and friends entices him to take a little less.
Sign em’: Palmieri can score, brings grit, and feistiness. It would be interesting to see what he can do under Barry Trotz’s system after having a full training camp with the team. With the exception against the Tampa Bay Lightning, he brought his A-game to the playoffs. If the Isles can’t land a bigger fish while retaining their important players, Palmieri then needs to be re-signed. Personally, I wouldn’t do more than four or five years (ideally four) and the cap hit must be less than $5 million. I’m fine with a modest raise (up from $4.65m to maybe $4.8m), so hopefully, Palmieri gives the Islanders a hometown discount.
Let em’ walk: I think it’s important for the team to add offense. However, it might come with the return of the captain. I do think that Palms was great in the postseason last year but he will likely command more money than the Isles can afford. Especially if they can bring in a high-profile scorer like Vladimir Tarasenko. If Palmieri wants to come back on a team-friendly deal, he’s more than welcome on the Island. But if not, it’s best to let him walk and try to supplement the roster with other strong role players.
Sign ’em: If it’s possible. A good fit and an upgrade from Leo Komarov, whose stay in the Isles’ lineup should come to an end. Palmieri is good in the gritty areas and still has offensive skill.
Sign ’em: If it all works out… This was a bit more difficult of a decision to make compared to our first player in this series (Cizikas). Palmieri wasn’t anything too great during the home stretch of the regular season, but in the playoffs he was spectacular. With seven goals in the postseason (tied for the team lead with Brock Nelson) in 19 games, it’s clear acquiring Palmieri at this year’s trade deadline was the right move.
So what comes next? Well, as of now it doesn’t look like interest isn’t a concern… both Palmieri and Lamoriello have expressed a desire for number 21 to don the blue and orange again next season. The only issue is how do they make it work with the cap. Keeping Palmieri would definitely force the Isles to jump over some salary cap hurdles, and would likely mean one of the top-six forwards is out the door. The likeliest “odd-man-out” in this situation (in my opinion at least) would be Eberle, who’s currently making $5.5 million through 2023-24. All hypothetical of course, but Palmieri is arguably a solid upgrade over Eberle, and it would be interesting to see how Palmieri and Barzal would play on a line together for a full regular season. There are other obstacles to get through first, but if the stars align and the right deal is offered, I’m sure fans would be thrilled to see Palmieri return to the Island next season.
Let ‘em walk: As great as Palms was for the Isles, the current salary issue means making cuts. Assuming Cizikas stays, I don’t think the Islanders can afford a big name UFA, meaning Palmieri walks. Now, would I trade Eberle or let him go in the expansion draft in favor of Palmieri? Probably. They’re roughly the same age, but I’d imagine Palmieri is a cheaper option, and cost-cutting is important. Despite this, it might be too hard to move Eberle, leaving Palmieri to walk.
Well, it depends: In the case of Palmieri, it’s once again a situation where he’s an asset and the team is better with him on it, but at what cost? He understands all too well, that this is a business and at the age of 30, this is probably his last chance to really cash in. He’s not particularly good at 5-on-5 and that needs to factor in when deciding how much the Islanders want him. In 36 total games with the Islanders, he had 9 goals. He was a bit snake-bitten during the regular season, but he more than made up for it in the playoffs so it probably evens out. He’s a gritty, good defensive forward who should score 20 goals a season. So, once again…he’s certainly an asset. If he’s willing to come back to the Island on a bit of a hometown discount, I’m all for bringing him back, but I suspect, he wants to be paid. Per HockeyViz ,,, his 5-on-5 offensive play is underwhelming If I’m the Isles, I’m offering him a three-year (four-year tops) deal worth $3.75-4 million per year. If he wants more than that, we say our goodbyes. I don’t think he gives us a hometown discount, so in that case, I’m probably in the camp of let ’em walk.
Consensus: sign ’em outweighs let ’em walk here, but it’s clear there are moves to be made before Palmieri can return. With the expansion draft just nine days away, the picture will become a little clearer sooner rather than later.
Follow James on Twitter @JamesNicholsNYI