The Anaheim Ducks will start the 2013-14 season without the scoring talents of Bobby Ryan, and will look to some of their younger players to have increased offensive roles. One of those young players is winger Kyle Palmieri, who signed a three-year, $4.4 million contract with the Ducks last week. The team rewarded their 2009 first round pick for his efforts in his first “full” season as a pro, which saw him score 10 goals and pick up 21 points.
Palmieri showed some promise in 18 games with the Ducks during the 2011-12 season, scoring four goals and picking up seven points. He also had 33 goals and 58 points in 51 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. The lockout saw him start the 2012-13 season with the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, where he scored 13 goals and had 25 points in 33 games. He appeared in 42 of the Ducks’ 48 games last season, and only spent nine minutes in the penalty box. He was one of the Ducks’ top performers in their playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings, scoring three goals and recording five points in seven games.
One reason the Ducks were able to part with Ryan is the depth at forward in their system. Players like Palmieri, Emerson Etem, Peter Holland and Patrick Maroon each saw significant time with the Ducks last season and now have a chance to step into even greater roles in the future. There’s little question that Palmieri’s play up to this point justified his new deal, and the Ducks now need him to show consistent improvement.