Oh how the mighty have fallen. Once a mainstay on the blue line, a real puck-moving defenseman who could quarterback the power play and provide offense from the d-corps capable of 40-50 points a season, Marek Zidlicky found himself feuding with the coach, being a problem in the locker room, airing dirty laundry with the media and not backing it up on the ice. As soon as he ended up a healthy scratch for the first time in his Wild tenure, you knew the writing was on the wall, no matter what the Wild brass said in public. Zidlicky and his agent wanted out, and he needed to be moved. The epitome of a problem child (much like Martin Havlat before him), Zidlicky was a disappointment in a season where the Wild needed him to be at his best.
He was always a source of controversy, a defensive liability who managed to stay in the good graces of much of the fan base and the Wild staff with his skill on the ice. That vanished, and so did Zidlicky.
#2 / Defenseman / New Jersey Devils
Feb 03, 1977
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Nathan - Not grading him, sorry.
Grade: Who Cares?
Bryan - A guy comes into a season with a new coach, a new sense of optimism in the fan base, newly acquired shooting forwards, and a young defensive corps he could have been a mentor to. What does he do with it? Gets out a pretty box, drops trow and drops a deuce in it. Then he wraps it up and nice and presents it to the players and fan base in the media. You are an offensive defensemen in a system built for contributions from offensive d-men, and you put up 14 points in 41 games? Good on ya, Marek. I hope the Devils love you, because once your contract ends, you're headed for the KHL. I'd rather have had Martin Skoula on the team.
Jesse - Zids never fit into Yeo's system. Plain and simple. The guy was a bad fit for how the Wild wanted to play hockey this year. That's the reality of the situation. Here's another sad reality: Zids was #2 from the blueline in point production despite playing only 41 games in Iron Range Red. I think Wild fans knew the blueline wasn't going to score a lot, but holy crap, a half a season earned Zids #2 among defensman on the team and 10th overall on the team.
Zids brought back some pieces in a deal while losing some cap space. That's really all I've got.
JS - Picture this if you will: Say you're an employee at some company or another and you work well enough to earn a raise. Then, one year, you start sucking very badly at what you do. Your absence actually raises productivity because you've become a distraction. Plus, you start talking ill about your superior behind his back. What do you think would happen in that situation? Your ass would be fired. Hell, it would be fired twice. They would fire you, then hire you again so they can fire you again.
That worker is Marek Zidlicky this season.
What the Wild had with Zidlicky this season was a defenseman who couldn't play defense, an offensive-minded player who couldn't score or help the offense out too much, a powerplay specialist that didn't do squat on the powerplay and a team member who didn't act like a team player. It's not like he's not capable of being of good player, he didn't get an extension from the team for nothing, but this year was a disaster of a year for Zids and CF, not being able to fire him, sent him to New Jersey, where Zids actually contributed more than he did all season by netting us some former Wild players, a decent young player and some picks.
As far as his grade goes, I'm firing his ass twice.