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Wild’s Marek Zidlicky drinks Lou’s Kool-Aid, waives no-trade for Devils (Update)

Greg Wyshynski
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As we illustrated (literally) on Tuesday, Marek Zidlicky hasn't exactly been a positive influence on the Minnesota Wild this season.

Including last night's loss to the Anaheim Ducks, they're 12-27 (including OT losses) with him in the lineup, 13-4 without him. They're averaging nearly a goal per game more when he doesn't play.

So, perhaps, it's good news for the Wild that he'll no longer play for them.

Whether or not this is good news for the New Jersey Devils remains to be seen.

From Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, news of an impending deal:

Zidlicky's agent, Larry Kelly, has confirmed to me this morning TSN Darren Dreger's tweet that Zidlicky has waived his no-trade clause to go to the Devils. No deal has been completed yet, but GM Chuck Fletcher and Devils GM Lou Lamoriello are working on it. No word yet on what the Wild may be getting back.

Russo wrote that the Devils have been interested in Zidlicky for a while, but that the acquisition of right-handed shooting defenseman Kurtis Foster tempered that enthusiasm. Foster has 12 points in 27 games, but only two points on the power play. He's played well, however.

If, or when, this trade goes through, it's an interesting investment from the Devils.

He would join a team that's missing both rookie Adam Larsson and veteran Henrik Tallinder to injury; Larsson's due back soon from a back injury, but Tallinder isn't close.

Zidlicky is 35 and has one more year on his deal at a $4 million cap hit. The Devils do have Foster ($1.8 million) and Bryce Salvador ($2.9 million) off the cap in the summer, so it's a bit of a wash; especially with Adam Larsson and Mark Fayne (who is an RFA) returning as cheap labor.

(And hey, who cares: It's the NHL's money anyway!)

For the Devils, this right out of the Lou Lamoriello playbook: Acquiring a veteran, puck-moving defenseman for a playoff run (see also: Shawn Chambers in 1995, Vladimir Malakhov in 2000). Zidlicky costs more than some alternatives like ex-Devil Johnny Oduya, headed to free agency with the Winnipeg Jets. But if he finds his game, he's an asset.

Which is a big "if" at 35 years old. Zidlicky was at a philosophical impasse with Coach Mike Yeo, and that damaged relationship led to this apparent parting of ways. Now the only question is if a player who didn't feel his style matched the expectations of his previous coach and team will drink Lou's Kool-Aid and play Devils hockey.

Well, along with whether this deal actually happens.

UPDATE: From the Dept. of Hold Yer Horses, TSN's Darren Dreger: "Zidlicky has said he would waive to go to NJD, however, Wild hasn't asked him to...yet, and may not trade him until the summer says source."

UPDATE 2: In case you were wondering if this trade was a complete cluster-eff, it is. From Russo:

First of all, Fletcher said, nobody from Zidlicky's camp has told him he's willing to waive his no-trade to go to New Jersey.

Why? Because the two sides have had only general conversations since Zidlicky, on Jan. 31, asked to be traded during a meeting moments after pulling me aside to complain about being scratched for the third in what would become four consecutive games.

"I haven't asked Zid to waive his no-trade for any specific trade," Fletcher said by phone this morning. "I haven't called him and said anything's close. I can tell you for sure I'm planning on talking to other teams. We haven't traded Zid, we haven't made the decision to trade Zid at this point. I have not formally asked him to do anything because at this point I honestly don't have anything to take to him, I don't have anything for him to say yes or no too."

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