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(Photo: ESPN)

Devils fans can breathe a sigh of relief. New Jersey avoided arbitration and locked down their leading scorer last year by signing Montvale, NJ native Kyle Palmieri to a 5-year $23.25M deal.

We had speculated the potential raise he would get a couple of months back here and here. Turns out, we were pretty close. But when the UFA frenzy opened July 1 and the money started flying, Ray Shero looks like an even bigger winner.

This is a very cap friendly term for a 25-year-old 30-goal scorer. The AAV = $4.65M per season with the breakdown scaling back toward the end of the deal.

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Palmieri also has a modified NTC were he can choose 8 teams in the last 3 years of his contract.

Not bad for a guy who had 30 goals and 57 points while leading the Devils in PPG, points and ice time, which was surprisingly top-10 in the NHL with the man advantage.

Yes, given his raise, he has the pressure of following up his inaugural 30-goal season, but his rate stats are good and suggest that this year was one of maximized opportunity, not an anomaly. Again, he scored 30 on a team that was dead last in scoring as opposed to playing on a line with Jonathan Toews or Jon Tavares.

Suffice to say, Shero has had a very productive (and rather successful) summer thus far as he continues to address the anemic scoring that plagued his team.

The biggest move being the acquisition (which is a polite way of saying “theft”) of dynamic winger Taylor Hall from Edmonton, and secondarily, locking up key UFAs to very budget conscious short-term “prove” it deals. He’s been fair if not frugal and it appears the players like the direction this team is headed. I agree.

Where coach Haynes decides to play him remains to be seen and will likely be sorted out in camp. While he’s surely earned a spot on the top line, Hynes may want to spread the love and not hinder the opportunities of 3 potential 30-goal scorers on one line.

Personally, I’d prefer the latter, which may look something like:

HALL / HENRIQUE / DSP(?)
CAMMS / ZAJAC / PALMS

In his presser, Palmieri was “honored” and excited about being in NJ for the next 5-years. He even went as far as to say the playoffs were within reach. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see another reliable D-man added to the roster before camp, I’d like to think they’re within reach, too.

It’s the middle of July, but if fans are already excited for October, they have every right to be. Puck drops in 96 days—Devils fans have a lot to look forward to.

 

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