The 2010-2011 Player Review: Nick Palmieri
Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will break down the 2010-2011 Devils season. We’ll cover the big team stories, but also offer a breakdown of individual player performances. In today’s review, we focus on Nick Palmieri.
Heading into the 2010-2011 regular season, Nick Palmieri found himself a mere name among the New Jersey Devils’ prospects. The rookie right-winger, who played in six regular season games during the 2009-10 campaign, found himself buried underneath new rookie faces like Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson. Being overlooked wasn’t a surprise, as Palmieri managed just one assist in that brief stint with the Devils. But he totalled 36 points, including 21 goals, with the Lowell Devils. The organization knew the talent was there, and Palmieri rewarded them for their trust.
Palmieri’s presence helped fill a major hole on the team’s first line. After the trade of Jamie Langenbrunner, New Jersey needed a right-winger to move up to the top spot. In came Palmieri, who developed chemistry quickly with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk. He scored the “dirty goals,” crashing the net and battling for pucks in the corners. He collected 17 points in 43 games, becoming an important piece of the team’s offense. Like rookie counterpart Mark Fayne, Palmieri exceeded expectations last season, helping stabilize the top line and providing solid secondary scoring.
Palmieri At Even Strength
Palmieri helped generate offense on the ice, outproducing several veteran players. After his call-up on December 30, the rookie right-winger averaged 14:19 of ice time. He made the most of his limited opportunities, compiling a plus-0.40 rating. Surprisingly, he finished in the green despite his quality of teammates (minus-0.006) ranking lower than the quality of competition (plus-0.029).
Palmieri was one of the few players to make a positive on-ice impact during even strength. On the ice, New Jersey averaged 2.54 goals for per 60 (25 total) against 1.73 goals against per 60 (17 total). His on-ice plus/minus of plus-0.81 ranked first among skaters with 40-plus games played. Off the ice, all three numbers declined. Goals for per 60 dropped to 2.03, and the goals against per 60 dropped to 1.62. His off-ice plus/minus rating also fell to plus-0.41.
For all his help producing offense, Palmieri didn’t effectively create or defend shots. While on the ice, the team averaged just 22.9 shots for per 60. Opponents were able to put 23.1 shots on net. Off the ice, the offensive shot numbers improved. New Jersey 24.7 shots for per 60, but still allowed 23.7.
The Corsi ratings exemplify Palmieri’s effectiveness. On the ice, Palmieri collected a plus-3.20 Corsi. It’s not a large number, but it’s impressive nonetheless. Playing with the top line helped improve this number, but he contributed as well. He managed to put 66 shots on net, which isn’t easy considering the talent around him. Off the ice, the rating declined to plus-2.54. The split isn’t huge, but it shows the positive impact Palmieri brought on the ice. He wasn’t a game changer, but he provided some solid play.
Palmieri On The Powerplay
Despite seeing limited time on the powerplay, Palmieri made the most of it. His powerplay time on ice per 60 sat at 0.57, placing him in the lower ranks of all skaters. That didn’t stop him from posting some solid offensive numbers. His plus-3.57 rating ranked first among all skaters. He put up that number against some pretty stiff competition (4.567 quality of competition, highest among all skaters).
The rating, however, can be a bit deceiving. The team produced more goals with Palmieri on the ice (4.91 goals for per 60 on, 2.71 goals for per 60 off), but that’s the only advantage. Shots for increased with Palmieri off the ice (39.3 on to 50.3 off). Corsi also increased, moving from 63.85 with him on to 90.54 off.
Judging his powerplay production is difficult. Palmieri clearly contributed, totaling three points with the man advantage. Remember, he also had limited powerplay time. We saw he doesn’t necessarily help generate shots, so those numbers don’t surprise me. The severe split in the Corsi difference does. It shows a general lack of offensive production from the rookie right-winger, something unseen during even strength play.
Like Fayne, Palmieri exceeded expectations this season. His nine goals were a team-high for rookies and finished second in points to Tedenby. Any rookie who consistently plays on a team’s top line needs to produce, and he met the expectations. His abilities seemed to blend well with Kovalchuk and Zajac. He constantly went toward the net, something other forwards were unwilling to do.
We’ll see how his sophomore season plays out, but for now, Palmieri seems to be firmly entrenched in the Devils lineup.