SAN JOSE, Calif. — That’s how it was supposed to work all season for the Islanders.
Recent consistent offensive production from Kyle Palmieri and Zach Parise is probably too late to help fuel a playoff push. But there may still be upside for the Islanders, who continue a five-game road trip against the Sharks on Thursday night at SAP Center.
Alongside top center Mathew Barzal, Parise played his first two-goal game as an Islander and added an assist in Tuesday night’s 5-2 win over expansion Seattle Kraken while Palmieri scored his fourth goal in four games since returning to the lineup.
“I was lucky enough to play in this league for a while and I was successful,” Palmieri said, in the first season of a four-year, $20 million deal after being acquired of the Devils last season. “When things aren’t going well it’s easy to maybe quit a bit. I just needed to take a deep breath and go out there and try to have my best game and just hope that I can build it in the right direction.”
Palmieri, a consistent 20-goal scorer with the Devils, scored one goal in his first 29 games this season and now has five goals and six assists in 33 games.
“He was almost playing feeling charged to try so hard in so many areas and, really, nothing was happening,” coach Barry Trotz said. “He lets it go and he plays a game of hard work.”
The Islanders, who did not practice Wednesday, are 17 points from a playoff spot. But they will need a continued resurgence from Palmieri next season, when the organization once again has Stanley Cup aspirations after reaching the NHL Semifinals the previous two seasons. Palmieri has a no-trade clause until next season and then a modified no-trade clause for the final two seasons of his contract.
Parise, playing on a one-year, $750,000 contract after the Wild bought out the final four seasons of his 13-year, $98 million contract, could be attractive as a hire with the NHL trade deadline. March 21th. He has six goals and 13 assists after not scoring his first goal until the Islanders’ 23rd game. But he has five goals and five assists in his last 13 games and has been effective mainly in a third-row role despite his production issues at the start of the season.
If not traded, Parise, who has been used on both the powerplay and the penalty kill, could get another one-year contract with the Islanders.
“It’s huge,” Trotz said of Parise and Palmieri’s renewed offensive production. “We’re a team that’s not known for having a lot of offense. Kyle was signed to give us offense and he’s doing that right now. Zach, his numbers aren’t amazing the last two years. But it’s the other parts of his game that are so valuable.When you get offense and you get that effort that you get every night, you have a balance there.