With New Jersey's 3-1 win over Philadelphia in Game 5, the Devils advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with a four games to one series win over the Flyers. That means Minnesota picks up New Jersey's 2013 third round pick that was conditional as part of the Marek Zidlicky trade back in February. The two conditions were that Zidlicky, who has been a boon on the blue line for the Devils, play in 75% of the first two rounds and that they advance to the ECF.
Obviously they did both even though Zidlicky was hurt and left Game 5 twice - once with 8 minutes left in the second period that he returned from and again later that the former Wild defenseman didn't - but is picking up an additional third round pick really worth it?
On one hand, getting an additional pick in addition to the $4M cap space that Zidlicky was owed next season is great; especially true given some of the deals proposed when Marek put a gun to the Wild's head and forced his way out of town. It feels like there's a large segment of the State of Hockey watching the NHL Playoffs cheering for New Jersey to win and Washington (whose second round pick is included in the deal and will drop ten spots if the Capitals are eliminated by New York) to lose this round just because of that.
Instead of enjoying the Wild-less NHL Playoffs for what it is, the Devils giving a conditional third has now become the greatest event in Minnesota postseason history since Carolina beat Edmonton in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.
On the other hand, the great Minnesota dream seems to be just that the more successful New Jersey looks. I've already felt that the team going all in for Zach Parise this summer sounds better on paper than the actual execution. The team needs to be aggressive in free agency and it's something Craig Leipold continues to rightly talk about in every interview (lets be honest, something needs to happen to take the mickey out of this season). No amount of money, however, guarantees a star like Parise ("one of us" only goes too far with the NHL) or fixes a problem like getting those Little Lebowski Urban Achievers to overachieve when they are playing for the Wild.
Up until the injury tonight (and hopefully he is okay), Zidlicky looked nothing like the lazy, unmotivated offensive defenseman that he did this season in Minnesota. It's impossible to put all the blame on Yeo and the Wild organization in this case because of his
Mostly, though, having a guy like Marek Zidlicky and/or Petr Sykora (who if you remember had Allan Walsh pull an Allan Walsh before he did with Martin Havlat) on the same team with Zach Parise can't help Minnesota's cause. The fact that it's a successful one that has reached the Eastern Conference Finals makes it even worse, conditional third round pick or not.
So it's a mixed bag where what is good in the short-term may hurt in the grand scheme. Regardless, Zidlicky is the rug that really ties the room together.
Minnesota has 7 picks in the 2012 NHL Draft June 22-23. Their own second round pick (#37 overall) was traded to San Jose as part of the Brent Burns trade last year (the Sharks traded it to Tampa Bay for Dominic Moore) but will receive Washington's second and New Jersey's 2013 third.
2012 Minnesota Wild Draft Picks
Round 1: #7 overall
Round 2: TBD (Washington's pick acquired in Marek Zidlicky trade)
Round 3: #68 overall
Round 4: #98 overall
Round 5: #128 overall
Round 6: #158 overall
Round 7: #188 overall