The Rangers made their real trade of the 2012-2013 season early on Monday when they shipped center Mike Rupp to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for center Darroll Powe and right wing Nick Palmieri. Rupp and Powe will swap places on the fourth line for the Wild and Rangers respectively, while Palmieri has been sent down to the Connecticut Whale (AHL).
So, what should Rangers fans make of this trade?
Upon first glance, I think the Rangers made out well in this trade. It isn’t a big move that’s going to shake up the foundation of the roster, but sometimes it’s the small trades you make over the course of the season that add up in the end. Darroll Powe is a veteran center who can help on faceoffs and killing penalties, which the Rangers could use with Ryan Callahan still expected to miss another two weeks or so. Powe brings some toughness to the lineup and will chip in every now and then on offense, but the Rangers won’t rely on him to be a scoring threat. The Rangers have wanted to get a veteran guy in here who can help on faceoffs for a few weeks now and this is pretty much the type of move I expected them to make. Powe’s game reminds me a lot of Brandon Prust, and not just because he’ll coincidentally be wearing No. 8 for the Rangers. This team clearly has been missing something after Brandon Prust left to sign a four-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens last offseason, and Powe provides a cheaper alternative (Powe is signed for around $1.06 million per season before becoming a free agent after next season) that really didn’t cost much to acquire.
Powe’s style will fit in well with the Rangers – he ranked second in the NHL amongst forwards last season with 91 blocks. Even though Powe has yet to record a point this season through eight games, he put up a respectable six goals and seven assists for 13 points with 57 penalty minutes in 82 games last season with the Wild, which is similar to Prust’s five goals, 12 assists, 17 points and 68 penalty minutes he put up with the Rangers last season. The biggest drawback from this trade, however, is that Powe, like Prust, also doesn’t offer much size to the Rangers’ lineup. Powe is listed at 5-foot-11 and 212 pounds, which is obviously a huge difference from Mike Rupp’s 6-foot-5, 243-pound frame. The Rangers were already a pretty small team to begin with, so this does set them back a bit in that area. That’s really the only downside to this trade, though. Rupp was barely getting over five minutes a game and really offered nothing except his intimidating presence and willingness to drop the gloves at any time.
As for Nick Palmieri, he’s simply just a spare part in this trade that will provide some depth in Hartford. Palmieri is a former third round draft pick of the Devils back in 2007 and really hasn’t turned into anything more than a guy who can score in the AHL but struggle to put up points in the NHL. Palmieri has spent a majority of the past two seasons playing in the AHL with the Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils) and Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild). Last year he skated in just nine games with the Wild and failed to record a point while putting up eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in 38 AHL games. Palmieri is unlikely to see any time with the Rangers unless some more injuries pop up over the course of what’s left of the season, but he’s still not a bad option to have in the minors. He’s still just 23 years old and is two seasons removed from putting up nine goals and eight assists for 17 points in 43 games with the Devils. At the very least, he should provide some scoring help down in Hartford as the Whale look to push for a playoff spot.
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