Ex-Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri becomes the 25-goal scorer Bruce Boudreau believed he could be, but it’s with the Devils

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said Monday he told Kyle Palmieri over and over again that “you should be a 25-goal scorer.” Palmieri didn’t get the chance while he was with the Ducks to score that many goals because the pecking order was a little different with the Ducks than it is with his new team, the New Jersey Devils.

An off-season trade from the Ducks to the Devils has been good for Palmieri, who reached the 25-goal mark March 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, extending his career high. He’s benefited from playing alongside Travis Zajac for most of the season, a change from his days in Anaheim, when he moved from line to line.

“I always had the confidence I could achieve something like that,” Palmieri said before his Honda Center homecoming. “While I was here, with the depth of the teams we had while I was here, it was tough to be in those situations. You get into the routine of moving up and down the lineup.

“I think in that respect it helped me grow as a hockey player. To adjust to those situations helped me a lot in my career. Bruce was always positive with me. Yeah, I remember him saying at the beginning of last season that he sees me as a 25-goal scorer. I think it’s nice to be in a situation where it’s a little more consistent.

“I think that helps on a nightly basis.”

Palmieri had 25 goals and 45 points going into Monday, topping his bests while with the Ducks of 14 goals (the past two seasons) and 31 points (two seasons ago). The Ducks traded him to the Devils for a second-round draft pick last June 27, a move designed with salary-cap flexibility in mind. Palmieri is expected to re-sign with the Devils at season’s end.