Last week, Devils winger Nick Palmieri was sent to Albany. Unlike last season, where for the majority of time he played with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk and recorded 9 goals, 8 assists, and a +9 rating in 43 games, he has struggled to find himself this season (3 goals, 3 assists, -5 rating in 19 games). I agree that he deserved to be sent down to the minors. However, I ask all Devils fans this question: What type of player do you expect Nick Palmieri to be? Is he a perennial 3rd/4th liner that will be asked to provide a spark with physical play and not be expected to score frequently? Or, like I believe, is he capable of being a strong 2nd liner with a 15-20 goal/season prowess?
It is important to note Nick is only 22 years old. He is still a developing, young prospect with a bright future ahead. To me, Nick is a power forward. not a grinder. Hence, he should be playing on a line that has the ability to put up a good number of points. However, the current make up of the Devils begs the question of whether or not Palmieri will fit in. With Travis Zajac hopefully returning by the holidays and most likely centering the ZIP line (Zajac, Ilya, Parise), Adam Henrique will likely be pushed down to the third line because the Zubrus, Elias, Sykora has been producing fairly well thus far.
This is not a negative for the Devils. In fact, when Jacob Josefson returns, the Devils will have 4 legitimate scoring centermen (Zajac, Elias - even though he is not a traditional center, Henrique - who can also play the wing, and Josefson). Because of this, it is probably Henrique who will play left wing on the third line because Clarkson will probably be right wing.
Where does this leave Nick Palmieri? If he is recalled at some point this season (he has a goal in 3 games thus far for the A-Devs), he will most likely fit in on the forth line. This is not a bad thing - the Devils may decide to play Mattias Tedenby along with him and Ryan Carter to form a "scoring forth line". However, it is not fair to assume all players will be healthy at this point. Therefore, if Nick returns, he may be playing alongside the likes of Cam Janssen, not exactly the best player when it comes to developing a scoring touch.
What do you believe should be done with Nick? Should he remain in Albany to hone his skills as long as the big club has its top 3 lines set? Will doing this halt his progress in the long run because he is a capable NHL forward now?