NEWARK — Two seasons ago Adam Henrique hosted his charity’s marquee event, Rico’s Soiree, in Hoboken, then woke up to the news that he was being traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Sami Vatanen.
Vatanen’s former Ducks’ teammate and current Devils teammate Kyle Palmieri is hoping to make it to his charity event on Saturday night.
The second annual Kyle Palmieri Foundation Military Ball is slated for Saturday night at the Venetian in Garfield. He and his wife, Ashlee, have worked tirelessly on the event, which is the signature event for the charity he created to help active duty and retired military service members.
The timing, however, may not be ideal as the Devils’ leading scorer (22 goals) continues to be at the center of the rumors with the Monday’s 3 p.m., ET trade deadline rapidly approaching.
But with playing, practicing and planning for the event this weekend, Palmieri hasn’t had a lot of time to read about any rumors.
“It’s just a lot of noise,” Palmieri said this week at Prudential Center. “It’s not something I can control. There are plenty of Twitter GMs out there but right now, I’m staying focused on the game and the guys in this room. Until someone tells me otherwise, that’s what my focus is on.”
The first time Palmieri was traded it came as a surprise. Under contract with the Ducks, he figured it was safe to take a vacation during draft weekend. He went to Ireland to play golf and was at a location so remote Anaheim’s director of hockey operations had a hard time getting hold of him to inform him he had been traded. He wasn’t following along on social media like the rest of us.
And he still isn’t.
“I look at it, but for the most part I don’t like it,” he said. “I’m not a huge social media person. If it wasn’t for the foundation I probably wouldn’t even have it. If the event wasn’t Saturday, I would have deleted it a while ago.”
This time, Palmieri is aware of his situation. With another year left on his deal with the Devils at $4.65 million, he’s going to command a high price.
The return for Blake Coleman in the trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning was a conditional first-round pick and a top prospect. Palmieri is a year older and his contract isn’t quite as budget-friendly as Coleman’s but his value is similar, so any return would need to be as well.
The Boston Bruins had been after Palmieri for a while. The New Jersey native does have a modified no-trade clause but many believed Boston to be a place he would sign off on, given that he trains in Foxborough with former Devils forward Brian Boyle and his training group in the offseason.
But the Bruins acquired Anaheim winger Ondrej Kase on Friday and Palmieri and Ashlee have been considering moving his training to New Jersey or Long Island, where he also owns a house, so it sounds like Boston is off the board.
Calgary has been mentioned as a potential location for the winger as recently as Friday afternoon. It’s unclear whether the Devils are shopping Palmieri or whether or not interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald is merely just listening to potential suitors.
He never shopped Coleman, he just received an offer that was too good to refuse.
“People call me about certain players. I don’t ask for anything,” interim GM Tom Fitzgerald said last weekend after he sent Andy Greene to the Islanders. “But if someone wants to talk about one of my players that may have a contract then that’s fine. Let me know. But these are my players that I control and I don’t have to do anything with them.”
For now, Palmieri is preparing to try and stop Alexander Ovechkin from scoring goal No. 700 on Saturday afternoon and preparing to host several retired and active-duty military service members Saturday night.
The New Jersey-raised forward is a New Jersey Devil until someone tells him otherwise.
“We have last-minute preparations getting set and making sure everything goes smoothly,” he said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
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