New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello just made it abundantly clear that his team is buying. Last night, he acquired offensive defenseman Marek Zidlicky for a hefty package — forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux, defenseman Kurtis Foster, a second round pick in 2012 and a conditional third round pick in 2013. Honestly, in real life, we’re not sure what Lou was thinking. Nevertheless, here’s the trade dissection from a fantasy hockey point of view.
Marek Zidlicky to New Jersey
Zidlicky brings a veteran presence to the lineup and a legitimate offensive threat from the blue line. Whether he can rekindle some of his past success is another story. Through 41 games this season, he has no goals and 14 points. In fact, his last NHL goal came close to a year ago, back on March 31st, 2011. To expect him to score 10 goals and 40 points at seasons end is way too ambitious, but he may help the Devils power play move the puck around a bit better.
The 35-year-old should inherit Foster’s role on the power play, alongside Ilya Kovalchuk. There is no question that he gets an upgrade in linemates, however, the question remains on how much he has left in the tank. Michael Russo of The Star Tribune noted, via Twitter, that Zidlicky has no zip on his shot and is looking his age. I certainly won’t be one to argue with a beat writer who watched this guy play in-depth for the last four years.
If you already own him, and like what he brings to the table, then expect a slight uptick in performance. Nevertheless, don’t go after him unless you are desperate.
As far as replacing Palmieri and Veilleux, expect the Devils to use a combination of Jacob Josefsen, Ryan Carter, Eric Boulton and Cam Janssen on the fourth line. So, I suppose those guys are your winners of the trade.
Kurtis Foster, Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux to Minnesota
If there was an interesting part to this trade, here it is. The Wild get back two of their former veterans in Foster and Veilleux while adding a young player in Palmieri (plus the picks).
Foster replaces Zidlicky’s ‘big shot’ from the point on the power play, so expect him to suit up on the top unit with Jared Spurgeon, Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi and a centerman — either Matt Cullen, Kyle Brodziak, or Mikko Koivu when healthy. The Wild’s power play is marginally worst than the Devils — 15.8 opposed to 16.5 — which means that Foster probably won’t be as productive as his three goals and 12 points in 28 games. Regardless, he should be only slightly worse in his new/old home.
Veilleux gets a second look with the Wild — the team that originally drafted him. His upside is 10 goals and 20 points playing a third line role but on this team he is likely relegated to the fourth. Can’t see him garnering much fantasy hockey value.
Finally, Palmieri gets a fresh start in Minnesota. After playing parts of four seasons in the Devils’ professional ranks, the team clearly saw all it could from the power forward. Moreover, new head coach Pete DeBoer described his play as “playing his way out of a job” earlier this season. The kid has an upside of 15-20 goals as a third liner but wasn’t going to be that player in New Jersey. In fact, he barely hit those prorated totals last season when playing mostly with Ilya Kovalchuk.
In order to make room on the roster, the Wild re-assigned Matt Hackett, Carson McMillan and Chad Rau. Basically anyone playing for the Wild who wouldn’t crack an NHL roster (ie. Jeff Taffe) is the loser.
In conclusion, not sure I see value in any of these players in shallow leagues. If you are desperate for an offensive defenseman both Zidlicky and Foster are worth a look, but temper your expectations.