Former New York Islanders defenceman Marek Zidlicky is still out there, ready to help any NHL team, should they need him. But at 39, is he really a net gain?
Marek Zidlicky is available and potentially still looking for work. He hasn’t officially retired or anything, but he finds himself without a contract after the New York Islanders chose not resign the aging veteran defenceman at the end of the season.
The 39-year-old Czech born player was signed to a one-year deal with the Islanders after finishing off the 2014-15 season with the Detroit Red Wings after being traded by the Devils for a third-round (and a conditional fifth round-pick).
Fun Fact: Zidlicky played 84 regular season games that year between Detroit and New Jersey.
NHL.com believes that Zidlicky is a good option for teams looking for a cheap right-handed defenceman who can help you on the power play. But is that necessarily true?
What Zidlicky Offers
First and foremost Zidlicky is a right handed defenceman. No level of analysis can change that. And right-handed defencemen are something of a hot commodity in the NHL. According to Ryan lambert of Puck Daddy, 31% of defenceman who played 35 games or more in the 2014-15 season were right-handed.
So Zidlicky has some worth there. What about his cost? His last deal was worth $1.5 million with the Islanders. At 39 he’s certainly not going to demand more than what the Isle gave him. Point, Zidlicky.
What about the notion that he can help on the power-play?
Since starting in the league with the Nashville Predators in the 2003-04 season, Zidlicky has averaged about six minutes of power-play time per game and scored 218 power-play points in the process.
Last season, with the Isles Zidlicky had his lowest power-play time per game at 1:53, netting four assists. Certainly he can add some points on the power-play, but he isn’t any type of power-play specialist.
Who Needs Him?
The immediate team that comes to mind is Edmonton, not because it’s a great fir or anything. It just seems that Edmonton could use any serviceable defenceman at this point.
But then you look at Edmonton’s situation. They only have three right-handed defenceman on the roster. Newcomer Adam Larsson, Mark Fayne, and Andrew Ferrence. Ferrence has yet to be cleared to play at this point, and until such a time will likely remain on LTIR. So that leave two able bodied right handed shots.
Larsson is going to be the go to right-hander on the team after trading none-other than Taylor Hall in order to get him. Leaving just Mark Fayne on the righty depth chart. Then you consider that Fayne totaled 2:14 seconds of power-play ice-time last season. Not average, total.
Edmonton also has a considerable cap space of some $9.238 million, according to Cap Friendly. Money they could certainly use to acquire Zidlicky, who may only cost $1 to $1.5 million for the year.
Edmonton could use a serviceable veteran on the blueline, but at 39 the risk that injury derails his season is quite high. Edmonton have the need and the space, but do they stomach the risk?
Zidlicky’s career might very be over. He’s 39 after all. Not many players can keep going into their 40’s. But until he calls it quits, he’s still available.