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.