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Devils at the 2009 NHL Draft: A Kyle Palmieri Overview

With the official finalized draft order announced by the NHL, the Devils will be selecting 23rd overall in this year's draft. The 2009 NHL Entry Draft will take place in Montreal on June 26 for the First Round and June 27 for the remaining six rounds.  

SBN is holding a mock draft and given my admitted ignorance about the various prospects available, I feel it would be best to gather as much information as possible about who may be available with the 23rd pick over the next few days. If you have any insight for a particular player (be realistic, we're not seeing Victor Hedman in Devils' red short of a shocking move), then by all means, let everyone know! Send an e-mail, leave a comment, put up a FanPost or a FanShot link/video of the player.    I can't get all the possible players, focusing on a few who should be around for the first round.  The more information, the better. Shortly before the mock pick takes place on June 23, I will provide a poll to get a feel for who you think it should be.    If you'd like a more macro-view of how the Devils do at the draft, I did compile what David Conte, NJ Director of Scouting, had done since 1994.

I decided on Kyle Palmieri because he was mentioned quite a bit in the FanPosts and so I figured he's a good of a prospect as any to start.

Kyle Palmieri - Right Wing - 5'10" - 191 lbs. - Hometown: Montvale, NJ (source:
2008-09 Team: U-18 United States National Developmental Team: 33 GP - 15 G - 15 A - 30 PTS - 51 PIM

Now, Brandon at Defending Big D has this awesome chart in his overall draft preview and it's a good jumping off point for who will be the subject for these posts.  Based on the aggregation of the various scouting services, Palmieri could very well be available at 23rd overall.  And so let's press on without qualifying every statement with, "IF he falls..."

Let's see what some of you had to say about Palmieri, first:

From the Suggest UFA Centers and Draft Prospects FanPost

Two centres I’ve heard good things about that fall within our drafting range are Chris Kreider and Kyle Palmieri. Both are touted as excellent skaters with playmaking ability. Palmieri I know a little more about, having seen him play in person when the US Developmental team played an exhibition against my Cornell Big Red. I have to agree with the scouts on this one, Palmieri is fast. Kreider supposedly is already a better skater than most NHL players. He is going to play at BC so it will be interesting to watch his development there, but he wouldn’t play for the Devils for a few years. - Saugus

From the NJD Top 5 Potential Draft Selections FanPost

5. Kyle Palmieri – C / 5’10" / Montvale, NJ / US NTDP / ISS #21
Described as a good skater who works hard, Palmieri presents many factors which make him an attractive pick. He’s a Jersey kid, his brother Nick is already in the Devils’ system, and the Devils have historically groomed kids of his description into solid NHL players (see Gionta, Brian & Parise, Zach). The two-way forward is headed for Notre Dame this fall, and seems to fit every category the Devils have historically loved about young forwards. - thejerseydevil

I don't think Nick and Kyle Palmieri are related; but aside from that between thenewjerseydevil's and Saugus' comments, it's quite positive.  Speed is always an asset for a young player. Hard working is also a solid asset.  Definitely warranting a further look, I'd think.

Now that's that, here's what the various outside sources - well-known and otherwise - has to say about Palmieri: has these quotes from the scouting report section on Palmieri:

NHL Central Scouting’s Jack Barzee
"I think Kyle's got a little bit of Chris Drury in him. I look at his passion, his natural skills and his tenaciousness, and that's what I saw in Chris. He's a lot of fun to watch because he has that vision along with a wicked shot. He very seldom passes up the opportunity to make the right play -- he's in position to shoot the puck and has that insight into whether to freeze and dish or just let it go."

U.S. Development Program head coach Ron Rolston

"He's put together and real strong on his skates, He's got good speed and he takes it to the areas he needs to score goals. He does everything for us and he's a lot of fun to watch." has quite a bit about Palmieri, including his long path to get this far, written back in February which apparently has the quotes used in his scouting profile.  Still, plenty of positivity - Palmieri talks about his game as such: 

"My strongest assets are my ability to create offense, my strength with or without the puck, my work ethic and my hockey sense," Palmieri said. "I'm not one of the bigger players on the ice, but I'm never intimated by anyone and I'm willing to go into the corners to get the puck. I know I can't control how tall I am, but the one thing I can control is my work ethic."

Work ethic? Creating offense? I can see why some fans are already thinking Palmieri with the 23rd overall pick.   What's more, and definitely highlighted by that same article, is that he helped the US U-18 team take the bronze at the World U-18 tournament in 2008 and the gold at the Five Nations tournament in February 2009.  Very good by Palmieri.   I'm liking what I'm reading.  Unfortunately, I can't say that I like that he is a Rangers fan.  Oh well, he'll drink the Lou-Ade like everyone else.

McKeen's site is subscription only, but the commentary on him from back in February is available:

02/06/2008 - Played more of an energy game but fit in well with more talented linemates due to his natural skills .. slick hands in close and has good awareness on when to distribute the puck .. is a hard player to defend against due to his ability to camouflage a play .. plays more of an up-and-down game .. he drives hard to the net ,as his speed serves him well to make quick cuts to the net .. he pushes defenseman back but he cannot boll over them due to his small frame .. his ability to control loose pucks and settle them down on his blade helps him convert some of his chances .. his play also excels along the boards but he needs to make quick plays otherwise he gets knocked down .. he has mastered the give and go and understands his weaknesses .. he plays with spunk and is an aggressive forechecker .. committed to team success, Palmieri will do whatever it takes to win.

That's a lot of compliments among the many, many ellipses.  It seems the obvious issues have to do with his size - not that he isn't willing to be physical, but being 5'10" and less than 200 lbs. means he's not going to win many of them.  If that's the only big problem with Palmieri, then I fail to see why he wouldn't be a solid pick. Zach Parise and Brian Gionta have shown that being relatively small in the NHL is not a liability.

In fact, consider his performance at the NHL Combine, where John Beattie at NESN had a solid overview of what went on in this year's combine.  While it's not as draft-changing as the NFL Combine, doing poorly will affect anyone's draft stock. Palmieri did the opposite of poorly, he was lauded for his performance. Palmieri may not be big, but he's definitely strong.  Here's what Beattie reported:

Who’s hot?
Kyle Palmieri
, the 5-foot-10, 191-pound forward from Montville, N.J., finished first in the push-up competition with 41, first in the pull strength with 309 pounds, tied for first in the vertical leap, second in the bench press competition with 17 reps and tied for third in the standing long jump test with 115 inches.

Palmieri finished with 30 points (15 goals) in 33 games for the USDP last year. He is likely to play at Notre Dame next season rather than the Ontario Hockey League, but after his combine numbers, a higher draft pick may change those plans.

Mike McLean has a blurb about Palmieri at Jackets Cannon and has, as this is now a trend it seems, plenty of praise for Palmieri's game. He does note that while he's a center, he could end up being a wing eventually.  As we saw with Zach Parise, this is not a bug, but it can be a feature.

Heated Skates actually has Palmieri going to NJ in their mock draft.  J. Alexander and Brent Gregory also compares him to Chris Drury with his two-way game and - this is key - plays physical despite his size.  Given that he tested very well at the combine leads me to believe that he is, perhaps, a strong yet small forward.

Coming Down the Pipe had a Devils draft preview post up today and Dean Millard thinks Palmieri will be the pick and drops a big player for comparison - bigger than Drury.

Millard: Kyle Palmieri - Comparisons to Zach Parise make it natural for the Devils to grab another American-born skilled forward. He was kicked off the U.S. U-18 team for reportedly not ratting out his teammates. Palmieri is heading to Notre Dame next year and Lou loves his college boys.

PARISE.  That's a massive and somewhat loaded comparison.  I really hope it doesn't take off for him, he would have some massive pressure to live up to that claim.  Being compared to Drury isn't as big as being compared to Parise.  Then again, that someone looks at what he does on the ice and thinks he isn't unlike Parise is certainly saying a lot.

Bolt Prospects did a 2009 NHL Draft preview and figures Palmieri could be available at 32nd overall.  Not likely with all the good things that I keep seeing about him!  Though one cannot ignore Pete's thesis:

At center, Kyle Palmieri has good speed and great strength for a smaller player, and his dismissal from the USNTDP earlier this season might knock him down to #32 for the Lightning to snag him. Here’s the rub: almost all of the US program’s kids have a knock on their character this season. But, they’re also extremely talented and are physically very well trained. Do you gamble?

Lou is big on character, so perhaps this personal situation could be more of an issue than some are letting on.  Yet, I don't know this guy personally and if the CSS scouts aren't worried about him, I doubt too many NHL scouts would be skittish.  Hmm.

But then, I keep seeing this guy in the lower third of the first round on most scouting services' rankings and in these mock drafts. As an outside observer, I can't help but ask, why?  Is his character and size really dropping him this low? I mean, from what I'm reading he's a great skater, he's got offensive talent, he works hard, he gets it done on the international stage, and so...why isn't he ranked higher?  Is this year's talent pool this good? Is his upside more limited than some are letting on? (Aside: Also, why can't I find any video of the guy playing hockey?)

Ultimately, this is what I'm left with asking.  Yet if he is truly as good as what I'm reading at the NHL and from these various sources I found online, then I would be quite pleased if the Devils drafted Kyle Palmieri.

It's time to have your say - do you like what's out there about Palmieri?  Do you like this format or would you like to see something else? Is there some angle or story or quote that I missed? If so, post it!  Let's use this post to talk about and discuss Kyle Palmieri as a hockey player.