New Jersey Devils making the right choice at right time to trade Kyle Palmieri

Kyle Palmieri is on the cusp of being traded and it is the right choice by the New Jersey Devils.

We just got word from Kyle Palmieri’s Management Group, Bartlett Hockey, that the forward will be held out of the New Jersey Devils’ tilt against the Washington Capitals today in anticipation of a trade in the coming days.

This is the norm this time of year with teams wanting to protect assets in order to drive up their trade value as much as possible before the Trade Deadline, and we saw the Devils do the same with forward Blake Coleman last year before dealing him to the Tampa Bay Lightning, so it is no surprise that they are taking a similar tactic with Palmieri.

After all, with the way that Palmieri plays the game as a physical power forward, coupled with the extra high risk that comes with playing in the middle of a Pandemic, the Devils are wise to sit out their biggest asset until agreement on a trade can be reached.

With the Playoffs nothing more than a fantasy this season, it would be silly and bordering on foolish for the New Jersey Devils to play Palmieri in what are pretty meaningless games now and take even the slightest risk of the right-wing picking up an injury or even the forward having a rough couple of outings which could drop his trade value even a little bit.

It hasn’t been a vintage year for Kyle Palmieri who is a -2 in 34 games this season with eight goals and nine assists for 17 points – on pace for his worst full year production wise – but, given the amount of teams in need of a top-six forward who can provide offense, there should be plenty of interest in the 30-year-old as we edge closer to the NHL Trade Deadline on April 12.

And that’s exactly why the New Jersey Devils are right to look to trade Palmieri now.

Kyle Palmieri (21)

Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

New Jersey Devils trading Kyle Palmieri right decision at right time

It was only a couple of days ago that Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reported that the New Jersey Devils and Kyle Palmieri’s camp were still having discussions about a possible extension, with the 26th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft an important figure inside that locker room.

However, there’s two main reasons why the Devils are both right and smart to look to move Palmieri now, with the right-shot set to be one of the biggest names available on what will be a weird Trade Deadline due to the strange times we currently live in.

For starters, New Jersey is very much in a rebuild and, while they have shown signs of improvement under first-year Head Coach Lindy Ruff, there is still a lot of work to be done by General Manager Tom Fitzgerald and he could get a head start at the Trade Deadline.

Boasting young talented building blocks in the ilk of goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, rookie defenseman and Calder Trophy candidate Ty Smith, and forwards Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier, the Devils do have a promising core in place and with some intriguing high-end prospects in the pipeline, they could be a force to be reckoned with in a couple of years.

Kyle Palmieri (21)

Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Therefore, by trading an established commodity in Kyle Palmieri, along with a couple of other players potentially, the Devils could get some valuable draft capital back and maybe a couple of prospects or young players that aren’t that far away from making an impact, but the front office should be looking to the future at this year’s Trade Deadline.

And that brings us to our second point; while Palmieri is in the final year of a five-year, $23,250,000 contract with a $4,650,000 cap hit, he will still be an attractive trade chip for a number of teams who are looking to load up ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There are a plethora of teams that desperately need a scoring top-six winger who can log big minutes and play in all situations, including the Boston Bruins, the New York Islanders and maybe even the Toronto Maple Leafs, so there could well be a bidding war for Palmieri’s services which will only be a good thing for the Devils.

While they likely won’t get a monster haul for what will just be a rental for the buying team, a franchise like the Bruins, who are in desperate need of a right-winger and have plenty of interesting young prospects, could be tempted to pay more than the asking price in order to get their man, and you can put the Islanders in the same bracket who need to replace the offensive output of Anders Lee who is done for the year with a knee injury.

Overall, the New Jersey Devils are in a pretty good position in the run-up to the Trade Deadline when it comes to holding all the cards with Kyle Palmieri and ensuring that they get the best possible package in return, but they are making the right decision to trade the forward now given where they are as a franchise and the amount of teams who will be hitting the phone to try and improve their roster by adding the veteran which should only drive up his overall value.