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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wild Trade Zidlicky to the Devils -- Who Got The Best Deal?

On Friday the Minnesota Wild traded disgruntled defenseman Marek Zidlicky to the Devils in exchange for Nick Palmieri, Kurtis Foster, Stephane Veilleux, the Devils 2nd Round pick in the 2012 draft, and a conditional 3rd Round pick in 2013 (with the condition being that the pick will be surrendered to the Wild if the Devils make it to the Eastern Conference Finals this year and also if Zidlicky was to play in 75 % or more of the playoff games in the first two rounds leading to the finals).  

Palmieri is 22 years old and should be able to improve his game and be a regular starter in the NHL for many years. Kurtis Foster is 30 years old and a big guy but is not a top defenseman and I don’t expect his career to last much longer. You have to feel sorry for the guy because Minnesota will be his six team since the 2008-2009 season. Veilleux is 30 years old and a “throw-in” in the deal.

Zidlicky is a very good offensive defenseman, although he is 35 years old. He did not get along with Minnesota coach Mike Yeo, and subsequently waived his no-trade clause. The trade had to happen for the good of the team. Zidlicky should feel extremely comfortable going to New Jersey because Patrik Elias has known him since they were 14 years old and they have played hockey together on Czech national teams. Elias is also 35 years old and still playing very well. Both Zidlicky and Elias will be unrestricted free agents after next season so the Devils will have them at least for the rest of this year and next year. After that who knows and it will be interesting to see.

Who got the best deal in this trade?

New Jersey is playing extremely well but Lou Lamoriello (GM) wanted to obtain an offensive-minded defenseman who could make their power-play more productive, and in Zidlicky they have filled that role. The Devils can make a serious run for the Cup this year and Zidlicky can improve their chances, and therefore it was a good trade for New Jersey. The only player who the Devils gave up who probably had significant value was Palmieri. The one or two draft picks in the trade may or may not turn out to be NHL players; however, Zidlicky had to be moved so the Wild made the right decision in making the trade.

All said, this trade will likely prove beneficial for both teams, the Devils immediately and the Wild probably later.

TJ Stanley