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Player Profile: Nick Palmieri

Nick Palmieri

NUMBER: 32
HEIGHT: 6′ 3″
WEIGHT: 220
POSITION: Right Wing
SHOOTS: Right
BORN: July 12, 1989
BIRTHPLACE: Utica, NY

While the 2007 NHL Entry Draft featured names such as Patrick Kane, David Perron, and James Van Riemsdyk, the New Jersey Devils kept a low-key profile without a first round pick in the draft. However, the Devils made a splash in the third round when they selected Nick Palmieri, 79th overall.

Palmieri, born in Utica, NY, was drafted out of the Ontario Hockey League where he had played for the Erie Otters and the Belleville Bulls. Palmieri found himself on the top of the scoring sheets for his teams (92 G over four seasons), and he also displayed a physical element (416 PIM over four seasons).

Palmieri played his first NHL game with the Devils on January 20, 2010, against the Florida Panthers. During the game he scored his first NHL point, an assist on a Travis Zajac goal.

Palmieri isn’t the elite prospect who you can expect 40 goals from, but he is a key ingredient in the Devils future. As seen this past season, Palmieri was placed on the top-line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk and he played the perfect complimentary role.

After the 2010-2011 season came to a close, Palmieri was selected to represent the United States of America in the IIHF World Championships in Slovakia. He played in six of the seven games in the tournament and had three points (two goals, one assist), including a game-winning goal.

2010-2011 Season Stats
GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
43 9 8 17 9 6 1 0 2 66 13.6

Kevin with Nick Palmieri

Personally, I met Nick Palmieri once. He’s the kind of person you wish every athlete could be like. He was down to earth, and to be honest, acted his age. You could tell he likes to have fun on and off the ice, and appreciates the support fans give him and the team.

Have any stories or pictures with Nick, send them our way! Leave a comment and send us pictures to devilsgenerals@gmail.com.

Player Profile: Travis Zajac (Happy Birthday!)

Travis Zajac

NUMBER: 19
HEIGHT: 6′ 3″
WEIGHT: 200
POSITION: Center
SHOOTS: Right
BORN: MAY 13, 1985
BIRTHPLACE: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Travis Zajac was drafted in the 1st round, 20th overall of the 2004 entry draft. On October 6, 2006 he made his NHL debut  with the New Jersey Devils when they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0. It didn’t take long for Zajac he get his first career NHL goal, as they played the following evening against the Dallas Stars and lost 3-1.

Prior to Travis Zajac becoming a New Jersey Devil, he was a member of the Fighting Sioux hockey club at the University of North Dakota.  During the 2004-2005 season at UND, Travis led the nation’s rookies with 20 goals, which was also a UND team high. He was also named to all-tournament teams at both the NCAA Frozen Four and the NCAA East Regional.  In Zajac’s final season with the Fighting Sioux in 2005-2006, he had 18 goals and 47 points.  His teammates that season included Drew Stafford, T.J. Oshie and Jonathan Toews, all currently playing in the NHL.

After 3 years in the NHL, Travis avoided salary arbitration and signed his first NHL contract, a four-year, $15.5 million contract extension on July 22, 2009. In his five seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Travis has played in 408 games, scored 89 times and has assisted on 160 goals, for a total of 249 points. On March 17, 2011, Travis Zajac became the New Jersey Devils record holder for Most Consecutive Games Played, when he started in his 389th game against the Ottawa Senators. The previous record holder was Ken Daneyko, with 388.

With the Devils season ending earlier than most had hoped for, Travis headed to Slovakia to take part in the IIHF World Championships. Zajac was honored by Team Canada and named one of four alternate captains for this tournament. So far in this tournament, he has scored 3 points, 1 goal and 2 assists.

Jaime and Travis ZajacOn a personal note, I’ve been following Travis Zajac since he came into the league. While we were still playing over at the Izod Center, then Continental Airlines Arena, I had requested a stick from Travis. He said it wasn’t a problem and would have it for me the next game. I waited patiently for him to come out and there was no stick for me, but he did have a bag of giveaways and proceeded to autograph a few items for me. A few games went by and I decided my best shot for a stick was to go to a practice. So, I headed to Codey Arena where the Devils were still practicing and waited for him to come out.  Sure enough, he had a stick for me this time. So as he went to hand it to me, I asked if he could autograph it for me. With a puzzling look he asked, “You want MY autograph”? I laughed and said, “Yes, it’s your stick, not anyone else’s”.  Travis was shocked and amazed that people would want his autograph and that people even knew about him.  So, I am now a proud owner of a Travis Zajac autographed stick and it’s one of my favorite pieces of Devils memorabilia.

2010-2011 Season Stats
GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
82 13 31 44 -6 24 2 1 1 173 7.5

Have any stories or pictures with Travis, send them our way! Leave a comment and send us pictures to devilsgenerals@gmail.com.

Devils play in World Hockey Championship

Kovalchuk & ZajacToday is the first day of the 75th annual IIHF World Championship being held in Slovakia. As any other world championship, several countries scoop up their best players into a team and go at it for the title. This tournament is made up of 16 teams, broken down into 4 groups and play for a little over 2 weeks for hockey supremacy.

The World Hockey Championships conflict with the NHL Playoff schedule, so it isn’t very popular in North America, but Devils fans have a reason to take interest! Our own Travis Zajac is playing with an A for Canada and Ilya Kovalchuk is leading the Russian team.

A few other Devils are playing for their respective teams. Nick Palmieri and Mark Fayne are on Team USA. Anssi Salmela is playing for Finland, Patrik Elias on Czech Republic and Tedenby on Sweden.

Plus, the word is VERSUS will be covering a few games with Matt Loughlin as one of two rotating hosts and special guest analyst, Zach Parise.

If you’re missing the Devils in all the playoff action you can still get excited for our boys over in Slovakia. Check with VERSUS for up to date schedules, they’ve got a few TBD’s as of right now. First game up for them should be Saturday the 30th at 10AM when USA takes on Austria.

Photo Credit: Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger
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