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Red Wings Trade Speculation: Marek Zidlicky

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Player Bio:

Birth Date: February 3rd, 1977 (38 years old)

Place of Birth: Most, RČS

Shoots: Right

Experience: 11 seasons

Drafted by New York Rangers in 2001 (176th overall).

Season Team GP Goals Assists Points Plus/Minus PIM
2003-04 NSH 82 14 39 53 -16 82
2005-06 NSH 67 12 37 49 8 82
2006-07 NSH 79 4 26 30 8 72
2007-08 NSH 79 5 38 43 -5 63
2008-09 MIN 76 12 30 42 -12 76
2009-10 MIN 78 6 37 43 -16 67
2010-11 MIN 46 7 17 24 -6 30
2011-12 MIN/NJ 63 2 20 22 -6 34
2012-13 NJ 48 4 15 19 -12 38
2013-14 NJ 81 12 30 42 -3 60
2014-15 NJ 56 4 18 22 -7 36

As we continue in our Trade Speculations series, we'll examine two players from a team that has struggled mightily this year. Since starting starting the season 3-0, the New Jersey Devils have endured five separate losing streaks of at least four games, including the four game slump they are currently mired in. Throughout this nightmarish campaign, team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello has been very visible, to say the least. Since the season began, Lomoriello has accomplished the following:

  • Fired head coach Peter DeBoer
  • Replaced him with the weirdest coaching situation in recent memory by naming Adam Oates and Scott Stevens "co-coaches"
  • Decided the only thing more ingenious than having two head coaches is to have three, thus inserting himself behind the bench
  • Been sued for allegedly being an enormous prick
So yeah, it's not hard to see why New Jersey might be a team willing to sell off some assets. The first of two Devils defensemen we'll be examining is 38 year-old pending unrestricted free agent, Marek Zidlicky.

The Pros and Cons:

Zidlicky is long in the tooth, and the book on him is that he's an offense-first defenseman. He gets favorable deployment (only Eric Gelinas receives a higher percentage of offensive zone starts), but still plays heavy minutes (he leads the team in 5v5 TOI). The fact that Zidlicky is an impending free agent is probably more pro than con at his age, as it eliminates the possibility of being saddled with a bad contract. For Zidlicky's scouting report, we contacted John Fischer (@JKFischer) of SB Nation's coincidentally designated Devils blog, In Lou We Trust:


Zidlicky is the closest thing to a distributor the Devils have on the blueline.  I'm convinced he sees the game differently from most Devils because he just does strange things with the puck.  Zidlicky has no qualms about jumping up on offense or pinching in when an opportunity arises.  Yet, he doesn't seem to recognize when to use his pretty good shot or when to bail out on a play as he carries the puck around the net for nothing.   And sometimes his decisions to pinch burn him and by extension the team.  Zidlicky can also turn into too much of an observer in his own end.  He's also prone to taking minor penalties due to getting beat or just being dumb. He led the team last season in them and he's second to Jagr right now with 16.  I think he gets more minutes than he should, but as the Devils lack a real replacement, he carries on.   That all said, Zidlicky can absolutely add offense from the blueline.  He leads all Devils defensemen in points.  While he doesn't always shoot it when he has a lane, he is leading the blueline in shots with 84.  He may do some things that make no sense, but other times he'll make some absolutely brilliant plays to create offense.  He has his pluses, though I think his minuses are almost of equal measure.

Devils fans are hoping that someone is willing to take the pending UFA defenseman.  I'm not so convinced there's a huge market for the 38-year old, but maybe a playoff-bound team could use an experienced offensive defenseman.  If Detroit can use him more as an offensive specialist than giving him 22 minutes per game on average, then they can reap rewards from him while minimizing his risks.  As for the cost, I think the Devils would be satisfied with a second round pick in return.

Conclusion:

There was a time when trading for Marek Zidlicky at the deadline would have been a typical "Red Wings move." But Ken Holland's claims that he won't make a "depth move" have been steadfast this season and, for what it's worth, Zidlicky has an NTC that he has been described as "unlikely" to waive. But more importantly, Zidlicky is a shell of the player he once was. In fact, of Red Wings defensemen, only Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, and Alexey Marchenko have less 5v5 points/60 than Zidlicky, despite his aforementioned offensive deployment. He would no doubt be of use on the power play, but that accounts for two to three minutes of ice time per game. I think the lack of any substantiated reports mentioning Detroit's interest in Zidlicky tells us what you've probably already figured out: he is the very definition of a depth move.

Also there's this: