Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:58 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 9:02 pm
By: Adam Gretz
In a move that had been rumored and expected for a couple of weeks now, the Minnesota Wild have traded defenseman Marek Zidlicky to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Kurtis Foster, forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Velieux, as well as a pair of draft picks.
Zidlicky has been struggling through one of the worst seassons of his career in Minnesota, and recently sounded off about the number of times he had been a healthy scratch under first-year head coach Mike Yeo. In 41 games this season he's yet to score a goal and has 14 assists, and throughout his career the 34-year-old rearguard has usually been a around 40-point producer from the blue line, providing most of his offense on the power play. Perhaps a change of scenery is what he needs at this point. It certainly can't hurt.
He's signed throug the end of next season and his contract pays him $4 million per year.
Zidlicky is going to a Devils team that could certainly use some offensive production from its defense, as their leading scorer among defensemen this season is 19-year-old rookie Adam Larsson with 16 points in 48 games.
The key player for Minnesota, along with the draft picks and the additional cap space it will save for next season, is probably the 22-year-old Palmieri. He's spent limited time with the Devils over the past couple of years scoring 13 goals in 78 career games.
The Devils acquired Foster in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks earlier this season in exchange for Mark Fraser, Rod Pelley and a seventh-round draft pick. Foster previously spent time with Minnesota from 2005 to 2009.
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Posted on: October 24, 2011 8:15 pm
With an injury-riddled roster at the moment, the New Jersey Devils are going to try captain Zach Parise in the middle. Or maybe the Devils were impressed by the Blackhawks' similar move of their star winger Patrick Kane to center. Either way, Parise will be taking a lot more faceoffs soon.
Natural centers Travis Zajac (achilles) and Jacob Josefson (broken clavicle) are both going on the shelf, so the Devils have to do something and moving Parise to the middle is the logical choice. Parise and coach Peter DeBoer discussed it back in training camp.
"I didn't think it was going to happen this fast," Parise said of the move. "It’s fine. We’ll try it out and see what happens.
"I don’t know if I was the only one in here who has ever played center before, so they didn’t have much to choose from."
DeBoer confirmed Parise's assumptions and the fact that he has a little experience at center, albeit a couple of games a few seasons ago and with a little more regularity in before coming to the NHL.
"With Jo and Zajac both out," DeBoer said, "it’s something that was sitting in the back of our minds that he’s played center before.
"He’s a versatile guy and he seemed like the best candidate considering the circumstances."
When the Devils took to the ice to practice on Monday, Parise found himself on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Nick Palmieri. It was about that time he realized somebody had to be the center, and it was probably him.
"We almost flipped a coin. I didn’t know who was playing center,” Kovalchuk joked. "He's one of the best players in the league. When he's that good, you just have to play your game."
The connection to Kane is a natural one. The Blackhawks moved him to start the season as they didn't feel comfortable with all the options at the position. Kane has done well, scoring two goals and four assists as well as winning 55.7 percent of his faceoffs. I'm sure the Devils would take those numbers in a heartbeat from Parise at center.
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