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Minnesota Wild at the Deadline: The Marek Zidlicky Trade

A death stare. Welcome, new guy.
A death stare. Welcome, new guy.

Everyone done dancing in the streets? No broken windows on West 7th, I hope.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he is gone. Marek Zidlicky, shipped out the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a host of players, picks, and prospects. As Nathan reported last night, the return on the aging, struggling, disgruntled defenseman was Kurtis Foster, Stephane Veilleux, Nick Palmieri, a 2nd round pick in 2013 2012, and a conditional 3rd round pick in 2013.

The chances of the Devils making the conference finals might not be on the side of the Wild, but that 2nd round pick looks pretty shiny. It is reportedly the 2nd round pick the Devils have courtesy of the Washington Capitals from the Jason Arnott trade. Whether or not that ends up a high pick or not could depend on if the Washington Capitals of this season return next season as well.

So... what di the Wild get here? Should fans be dancing in the street, or quietly sitting in the corner waiting for Gadot?

The Return

Kurtis Foster

#2 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild



Nov 24, 1981

2011 - Kurtis Foster 37 4 10 14 -14 31 2 0 0 70

At first glance, Wild fans see that Foster has nearly identical point totals to Zidlicky. Notice, if you will, the non-circular number in the column labeled "G." Those are what is known in the business as "goals." You may be familiar with them from such movies as "Miracle" and "Mystery, Alaska."

What Fozzie brings to the table is well known here in Minnesota. He is a team first guy with a canon from the blue line. It isn't always on the mark, but it makes its presence known, which is something the Wild are sorely lacking right now. If nothing else, maybe he can show some of the young guys the secrets to not burying a shot into the shin pads of the nearest opponent.

This part of the trade may go down as the fan favorite. Foster is a likable guy, and was a fan mainstay in his time here.

Stephane Veilleux

#11 / Left Wing / Minnesota Wild



Nov 16, 1981

2011 - Stephane Veilleux 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

The fiery red head returns. Veilleux is a product of the Wild organization, played a good deal of his career here, and when he finally left, his career seemed over. Yet... here he is, back in Iron Range Red, and back, most likely, on the fourth line.

Veilleux was, at one point, one of those guys that could put in a dozen while putting in the hard minutes and shutting down the top lines of the opposition. He was Eric Nystrom before Eric Nystrom was. Those days are likely gone for Veilleux, but his ability to grind out a shift and put in a solid checking game are likely still around. Good depth pick up.

Nick Palmieri

#10 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild



Jul 12, 1989

2011 - Nick Palmieri 29 4 3 7 -7 12 0 0 0 42

We are still assessing just what type of player Palmieri is, and will have more on him specifically later today, or before the game on Sunday, but for now, we are cautiously optimistic. A big bodied, young "power forward" type player that the Wild desperately need.

From reading New Jersey fans' commentary, it sounds as though Palmieri is not exactly going to break land speed records, but he is a garbage goal guy. He will need support of good linemates, and will not be the first guy in on the forecheck, but it sounds like he is difficult to knock off the puck, and even more difficult to knock out from in front of the net.

Given a chance, Palmieri may just be someone the Wild really needed. We'll see how it all works out, but he certainly seems like one of the two pieces Fletcher really wanted in this deal.

Second Round Pick

Recent second round picks by the Wild include Jason Zucker, Brett Bulmer, Johan Larsson, and Mario Lucia. In other words, Fletcher is pretty good with the second rounders.

Third Round Pick

The only two third round picks the Wild have made in the past six years were Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Hackett. Not to shabby. Fletcher has a penchant for trading third rounders in order to move up in the second round and or as package deals. Forced to make a pick, he would do just fine for himself.

What it All Means

This is a great trade for the Wild. They get a defenseman in Foster who will bring offense from the back end, a grinding forward in Veilleux that the fans know, a prospect in Palmieri that looks (at first glance) like he may just fit right in, and a couple of picks. The first response is... wow. Fletcher made a haul.

Foster and Veilleux are pending UFAs, meaning if they don't work out, there is no harm. Their cap hits for the rest of the season are minimal, so shouldn't prohibit any further trades either. Palmieri is a pending RFA with a $801K cap hit, and a bonus of around 200K available (he won't make it). His qualifying offer will be 105% of $801K, so around $841K.

The second round pick could turn into a good prospect. The third is a long shot to ever happen. Picks are always welcome. Always. More, please.

The biggest reward out of this trade could be the dumping of the $4 million cap hit for the Wild next season. They want to go hard after UFAs in the offseason, and an extra $4 million is going to be extremely helpful in that process. If you want to put it into perspective, Zach Parise could command $7 million a year. With the new $4 million found in losing Zidlicky, that's only a new cap hit of $3 million. Same goes with a Ryan Suter type d-man.

That extra $4 million is going to come in mighty handy.

Declaring winners and losers in trades is something that rarely results in anything productive. Right now, if none of the players coming back work out, the cap relief and the 2nd round pick would have been plenty to make most Wild fans happy.

Your turn Wilderness... what are your thoughts?