Marek Zidlicky Traded To New Jersey For Washington's 2nd, Kurtis Foster, Stephane Veilleux & Nick Palmieri

After writing a couple days ago about how Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher needed to get the most out possible if he decided to trade disgruntled defenseman Marek Zidlicky, he did just that.


The Minnesota Wild got into the pre-trade deadline action today, acquiring two former Wild players and a big, young winger in the process. The Wild landed forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux, defenseman Kurtis Foster, a second round pick in 2012 and a conditional third round pick in 2013 from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
The second-round pick is the one New Jersey received from Washington for trading Jason Arnott. Minnesota only receives the conditional third-round pick if the Devils reach the Eastern Conference finals and Zidlicky plays in 75% of the games in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The deal is one which every Wild fan can be happy with. Besides the fact public enemy number one has left the State of Hockey, Fletcher has gotten back two former Minnesota players (if you're into that), a mid-level prospect (if you're into that) and essentially gotten the second-round pick traded for Brent Burns back (if you're into that. Presently it would be the number 40 pick while Tampa Bay, which got Minnesota's second rounder from San Jose in return for Dominic Moore, would pick 39th.

Like everyone, I like the deal. No offense to Kurtis Foster or Veilluex, who are more of nostalgic add-ons (both are unrestricted free agents and salary dumps in lieu of New Jersey picking up a year-plus of Zidlicky's 3 year, $12 million contract), but getting a second and a mid-level prospect with upside is a good pick up. In fact if you switch Palmieri with Ryan Jones it's exactly what the Wild parted with to get Marek three and a half years ago. Given his deterioration due to age and injuries, that's a win on its own.

Fletcher has shown for the most part that he has a good eye for talent and another high-end pick will only pay dividends. As for Palmieri, we'll see how he pans out but at the very least he's a big body who fits in with the rest of the prospect pool and can score.

The only issue I have with trading Zidlicky is that the crippling lack of offense from the blue line is that much worse. Foster brings back some offensive skill and his cannon of a shot to Minnesota. He was criticized for not scoring in New Jersey but Foster's four goals would lead all Wild defensemen and are 40% of the total scored by the blue line (for those math-inclined, they've scored 10 in 60 games). New Jersey needs a puck mover and have the talent to get the most out of Zidlicky; it is the reason they paid a premium for him. However, with Minnesota in need of offense and defensemen who can move the puck, this is an issue that I hope Fletcher can solve with free agency.

For now, the parade marches on.


  1. Tom Gulitti makes an excellent point on twitter this morning;
    "In 29 games before Foster's arrival, Devils' PP was 14-for-110 (13.2%). In 28 games Foster played for Devs, PP was 19-for-87 (21.8%)"

    and as far as the locker room presence goes;
    "Kurtis Foster became a pretty well-liked guy in the Devils' locker room in only 2-plus months on the team. He is a class guy. Will be missed"

  2. You can't compare Foster's worth to the "old" Zidlicky on PP in Minnesota. Zid simply didn't do it this year on the PP here, and Foster is a clear upgrade THIS year. Zid wasn't going to magically start doing it again with the Wild either. That should have been clear when he told Russo that he'd tried to tell Yeo what was "really" wrong with the PP, twice, and Yeo didn't want to listen.

    What that really means is that you had a player who simply wasn't going to get it done on the PP, because he didn't understand/agree with how he was being used. That problem won't exist with Kurtis as his PP role is about as dead simple as it gets --keep the puck in; blast that motha netwards.

    That analysis won't change even if Zid finally finds renewed PP life in NJD. If he does, good for him and them, but it wasn't going to happen here.