While John Ferguson Jr. of the San Jose Sharks might have been scouting the New York Rangers, it turns out that the Blueshirts trading partner turned out to be a Wild card – as in the Minnesota Wild. The Rangers traded veteran winger Mike Rupp to Minnesota in exchange for Froward Darroll Powe and RW Nick Palmieri.

It is a trade that sees the Rangers get younger and smaller while saving about $400, 000 in cap space as Palmieri the Connecticut Whale of the AHL. Both players have one more year left on their contracts (Rupp at $1.5 million and Powe at $1.07 million). Palmieri ($577, 150) is making just above the NHL’s minimum salary of $525, 000.

In an unscientific and strictly cursory search of the Internet, Wild fans seemed more upset to be losing Palmieri than Powe. It appears that it is a case of size and potential winning out over a third/fourth line checking forward with limited offensive upside. However given the Rangers penchant for taking penalties, they probably need a penalty killer like Powe than a tough guy like Rupp – especially with Aron Asham and Stu Bickel in New York and some size and tough guy alternatives in Connecticut (Palmieri, Micheal Haley, Brandon Segal and Brandon Mashinter).

In Powe, the Rangers received a 27-year-old who can play Center and Wing and is a left-handed shooter. The 5-foot-11 and 212 pounder is scoreless in eight games this season. He played in all 82 games last year and scored six goals and seven assists. In 294 career NHL games, Powe has tallied 28 goals and 28 assists.

Powe played four years at Princeton University before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers as an undrafted free agent in March 2007. The Flyers dealt Powe to Minnesota for a 2013 third round draft pick in June 2011 and he signed with Minnesota in July 2011. He is a John Tortorella type of player in that he is good defensively and will get in on the forecheck. While he doesn’t have an enforcer’s size, Powe has been known to scrap.

The one thing that limits his ice time is that he does not have much of an offensive game. His best use will be as a fourth line player who can kill penalties and take a shift on the third line as defensive presence and forechecker.

The addition of Palmieri helps replace the loss of Rupp’s size. The 23-year-old Palmieri is 6-foot-5 and weighs 230 pounds.

He was originally drafted in the third round (#79) of the 2007 NHL Draft by New Jersey. The Devils dealt Palmieri. Kurtis Foster, Stephane Veilleux, a 2012 second round draft pick (that belonged to Washington) and a conditional 2013 third round draft pick to Minnesota for former Ranger draft pick Marek Zidlicky. Since the Devils made the Eastern Conference Finals and Zidlicky played in 75% of the Devils playoff games in the first round, that pick is transferred to the Wild.

Palmieri played in 40 games with Houston Aeros of the AHL and scored 10 goals and 11 assists with 35 PIMs. Last season, Palmieri split his time between the Wild and Devils organizations. In 38 NHL games, he scored four goals and three assists with 14 PIMs. In 38 AHL games, he scored eight goals and nine assists with 32 PIM. He represented the USA in 2011 World Championships scoring two goals and one assist in six games.

In their 2007 NHL Draft Guide, the International Scouting Service wrote of Palmieri, “Palmieri is a big player with a strong powerful skating stride who would be more effective if he moved his feet more and played physical on a more consistent basis. He has good puck skills and does a nice of using size to protect the puck during battles along the boards. Playing in Erie this past season, Nick had the opportunity to play in all key situations – 5 on 5, 4 on 4, PP and PK. In the offensive zone he has a heavy shot with a quick release. Needs to improve play away from the puck and show more consistent effort in overall game.”

Here is the Toronto Star’s Scouting Report on Darroll Powe:

Assets: Works hard, provides energy and is a solid defensive forward. Can play both center and wing. Is aggressive and hard to knock off the puck, due to a strong lower base. Is plenty versatile.
Flaws: Doesn’t own a lot of natural offensive ability, so he’s reduced to role-player status at the National Hockey League level. Also doesn’t always play with consistency and can wear down over time.
Career Potential: Versatile depth forward with a defensive conscience.

Here is the Toronto Star’s Scouting Report on Nick Palmieri:

Assets: Boasts impressive size at 6-3, 220 pounds. Displays the ability to use his big frame to initiate contact. Works hard to improve his game. Unleashes a hard shot.
Flaws: Needs to improve his skating, as well as his passing skills and how to better utilize his linemates. Has to display a more consistent power game in the NHL.
Career Potential: Meat-and-potatoes winger with a little upside.

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