NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s no secret the Devils struggled to score goals last season. But just imagine how bad their offense would have been if they didn’t have Kyle Palmieri.
The veteran forward was one of the few bright spots for an offense that averaged just 2.2 goals per game, tying Adam Henrique for the team lead with a career-high 30 goals. No other Devil scored more than 16 as New Jersey missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season since falling in the Stanley Cup final in 2012.
On Thursday, the Devils rewarded Palmieri, a native of Montvale, New Jersey, inking him to a five-year, $23.25 million contract. The deal carries with it an annual average value of $4.65 million.
Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks last summer for a second-round draft pick, Palmieri, 25, finished the 2015-16 season with 57 points, including 11 goals and 23 points on the power play, all personal bests.
In 280 career NHL games, Palmieri has 73 goals, 73 assists and 129 penalty minutes. He also has seven goals and five assists in 33 career Stanley Cup playoff games.
Putting offensive talent around Palmieri, Henrique and Mike Cammalleri, who played in just 42 games last season due to injury, has been a top priority for general manager Ray Shero so far this offseason. The veteran executive traded top-four defenseman Adam Larsson earlier this month to the Edmonton Oilers for former No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall, who has 328 points in 381 career games, including 65 last season.
The Devils also re-signed forwards Devante Smith-Pelley and Jacob Josefson, in addition to acquiring, among others, veterans Beau Bennett and Vernon Fiddler.