Kyle Palmieri is not a cornerstone


Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman doesn’t understand the concept of small sample size.  Six weeks ago it was Mike Condon.  This week it’s Devils winger and “15-goal man Kyle Palmieri, a restricted free agent who looks like a cornerstone.”  Palmieri may be having a breakout season, but it’s not without major qualifiers.

1. His shooting percentage as a Devil is 16.8% (16 goals on 95 shots). His shooting percentage across five seasons as a Duck was 10.9% (43 goals on 395 shots). True, he’s shooting a lot more with increased playing time, but among active NHL players, only two have career shooting percentages higher than Palmieri’s 16.8%, and odds are he’s not the next Stamkos. In other words, this number will drop.

2. 13 of Palmieri’s 29 points have come on the power play–which is ironic, given that Friedman in the same column repeats the critique of Claude Giroux’s “dependency on power play points”:

Scoring with the extra man is critical considering how hard it is to do so five-on-five, but compare Giroux to some of his compatriots. He leads the NHL with 50 such points the past two seasons, and has 101 overall. That’s 49.5 per cent of his total coming with the man-advantage. Of the other nine players in the top 10 of power play totals, Joe Pavelski’s 43.4 is next highest (46 of 106).

Palmieri is at 44.8%.

Overall, Palmieri’s season is encouraging. He frequently plays against the opponent’s top lines and the Devils are a better possession team with him on the ice than off. He finishes more shifts in the offensive zone than he starts and he draws more than twice as many penalties as he takes (the Devils as a team tend to be good at this).

The problem is that he’s good but not quite this good, and the Devils as a whole are good but not quite this good. They’re dead last in 5v5 shots for/60 and only Anaheim is worse in 5v5 goals for/60 (yes, even the Flyers are better). Cory Schneider, a top ten shooting percentage, and the power play (not to mention the Penguins and Tampa Bay underperforming expectations) have kept the Devils in the playoff race. Maybe Palmieri is a cornerstone of this Devils team, but that says more about the Devils than it does about Palmieri.

Advanced stats courtesy of Behind the Net.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


One Response to “Kyle Palmieri is not a cornerstone”

  1. […] Kyle Palmieri will win the Hart Trophy next year. […]

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