2005-06: After being selected by the Erie Otters in the second round of the OHL draft, Palmieri stepped right in as a rookie, and while he didn’t set the world on fire, had a decent rookie season, scoring 13 goals and 10 assists in 68 games for the Otters.
2006-07: In his second season with Erie, Palmieri really came into his own. On an Otter team that languished near the bottom of the OHL standings all season, Palmieri’s play was a bright light in an otherwise dismal year. In 56 games, Palmieri scored scored a team best 24 goals and finished third in team scoring with 45 points. He also displayed a physical element to his game by putting up 99 PIM’s.
2007-08: Palmieri had a solid 2007-08 season with Erie. Given the fact that he missed a significant chunk of the year due to a bout of mononucleosis and had to endure playing on one of the worst teams in the OHL, it makes his 28 goals and 18 assists in 50 games all the more impressive. And as is the case for most players playing on below-average teams, he recorded an ugly -30 rating, which is more a reflection of the team than his defensive play. With 122 PIM’s, Palmieri played with a bit of an edge during the season, but those high totals are also the result of the frustration of playing on team that only won 18 of 68 games. With the Otters missing the post-season, Palmieri joined the Devils AHL affiliate in Lowell to finish off his year, scoring one goal in nine games.
* Read this Hockey’s Future article on Nick Palmieri
2008-09: Palmieri got his wish for a trade early in the season as he was dealt from Erie to the Belleville Bulls. Palmieri played in more of a secondary scoring role on a loaded Bulls team. He recorded seven goals and 12 points with Erie before the trade, but took off with Belleville, potting 20 goals and nine assists in 43 games. After combining his stats with both clubs together, he recorded 27 goals and 14 assists in 61 games. He also finished with 116 PIM’s and a +6 rating. Though the Bulls fell short in the post-season, Palmieri had an outstanding playoff, scoring 14 goals and three assists in 17 games.
2009-10: Palmieri’s first season of pro hockey brought some struggles early as he adjusted to the size and speed. With Lowell of the AHL, the forward would score 21 goals and 36 points, being rewarded 6 games with New Jersey in which he registered an assist.
2010-11: Palmieri appeared in 43 games with New Jersey after being re-called from AHL Albany in January and was one of the most consistent scorers for the Devils during their unlikely late-season push for a playoff spot that fell just short. Palmeiri finished with 9 goals and 8 assists and was +9 with 6 PMs. He was often on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk and the rookie’s ability to play in small spaces and use his size in front of the net complimented Kovalchuk’s offensive skills and creativity. In 26 AHL games with Albany prior to his call-up, Palmieri scored 6 goals with 5 assists and was -2 with 28 PMs. Following the season, he was selected to play for the United States at the 2011 IIHF World Championship and scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was -1.
Palmieri is a big burly power-forward who now knows how to use his size to his advantage after some consistency issues coming up through junior. He drives hard to the net and isn’t afraid to take up residency just outside the blue paint and fight for rebounds and get those garbage goals. He isn’t the fleetest of foot, but moves well for his size. The owner of a sizzling shot with a quick release, Palmieri has above average finishing skills. He’s responsible defensively and likes to get involved physically.
Palmieri has the perfect skill-set to play in a complimentary role as a top-six forward, doing all the dirty work for his linemates. He played very well in the second-half for New Jersey last year and it looks as though he has sewn up a full-time spot at the NHL level. He has 30-30 upside in his future.
Palmieri has been dealt to the Minnesota Wild in the deal that sent Marek Zidlicky to the New Jersey Devils.