NEWARK, N.J. – The New Jersey Devils added experience to their shaky defence and acquired a leader for their power play in acquiring defenceman Marek Zidlicky from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for three players and two draft picks on Friday night.
President Lou Lamoriello announced the deal during the second period of the Devils’ game with the Vancouver Canucks, saying that defenceman Kurtis Foster, forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux, Washington’s second-round choice in the 2012 draft and a conditional choice in 2013 would be headed to Minnesota.
“We had an opportunity to get an experienced right-hand shot, puck-moving defenceman who can quarterback the power play and who had a lot of experience,” Lamoriello said.
The Devils longtime executive did not think he gave up a lot, noting that Palmieri and Veilleux have split time between the NHL and minor leagues this season and that Zidlicky can do more than Foster, who was acquired earlier this year from Anaheim.
Zidlicky has 14 assists and 24 penalty minutes in 41 games with the Wild this season. The 35-year-old has career totals of 60 goals—40 on the power play—and 238 assists in eight seasons with Nashville and Minnesota. He had a career-best 53 points in his rookie season in Nashville in 2003-04.
“(Zidlicky) is a good player who’s had a good career. He’s a competitor,” Minnesota general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “He’s going to a team with a fresh start who’ll probably play well there.”
Zidlicky was in Dallas on Friday and Lamoriello could not say when he would join the team.
“We had an interest in him when he was traded to Minnesota,” Lamoriello said of the Czech native.
Rookie defenceman Adam Larsson (back) and veteran Henrik Tallinder (blood clot) have been sidelined in recent weeks. Larsson is currently day to day and Lamoriello hopes to have Tallinder back by the end of the season.
Lamoriello would not say whether the Devils will make more deals before Monday’s trade deadline.
“You never know,” he said, adding he would do anything to make the team better.
Minnesota may have some work ahead, as well, before the deadline. But either way, Fletcher is pleased so far.
“Anytime you put three players on your NHL roster,” Fletcher said, “it makes you better.”