He didn't score it, but he celebrated the hell out of it.
Brought in as part of the trade that sent Marek Zidlicky packing, Nick Palmieri was seen as another young guy to add to the stables. He showed some promise, crashing the net, creating some space, but he had no luck in the one department that counts... actually scoring goals. With the draft picks added in the trade, Palmieri doesn't need to pan out, but that sure would be nice.
He's down in Houston, still learning the system. Maybe he can come back next year, maybe he can't. Right now, he is a no lose situation. If he fails, the Wild still got picks. If he finds his game, the Wild got a good player for someone who did not want to be here.
Win - sort of win.
As for grades, make the jump.
Nathan - A young player with size, willing to crash the net and do the dirty work to create problems and cash in on rebounds/redirects. Yes please. The Wild have honestly never had that kind of player. I thought Palmieri had a chance to be that guy. He still might, but not yet. He's too green. He needs to get much better in a hurry or he's going to find himself behind Brett Bulmer to fill that role.
Bryan - This one is tough. I really liked the way Palmieri was playing when they sent him down. He wasn't getting the results, but he is the only person to put on a Wild sweater this year to consistently crash the net. Honestly, I think if the Wild knew what to do with a player in front of the net, Palmieri would have potted ten easy. Instead, he's in Houston, and may wind up there for awhile. He sure looks to have the goods, if he could just finish. Another one of those guys who is working hard, but just doesn't seem to have the X factor.
Jesse- Part of the Zidlicky deal, Palmieri strikes me as a reclamation project of sorts. Palmieri still hasn't come into his own as a player. While only age 23, he hasn't shown the ability to take the next step at the NHL. It seemed like he was right on the cusp of finally breaking through after the deal, but he became less and less a factor until he was removed from the lineup completely.
To be completely honest, I think Palmieri's window of being a pro with the Wild is closing quickly. The Wild already have Nick Johnson and will soon add Brett Bulmer into the mix to play wing in a 3rd line role, so he's got to be feeling the squeeze. It doesn't look like he has the natural ability to play in a Top-6 role, and he's not a good enough defender to play as a 4th line, shutdown winger. He's still an RFA, so the Wild can bring him back to fill in as an injury call-up, but I'm not seeing him stick with the big club.
JS - I liked the energy he brought, and despite not getting a point, he was getting his chances. With some AHL conditionning, he should be a good bottom-line/call-up. One of his best qualities is that his presence means Zidlicky is gone. There's actually not much else to say about him, he only played 9 games with the Wild.