Just one day after the New York Islanders overhauled their prospect system with the add of five Toronto Maple Leafs prospects — and just one day after the club opted to ink former New Jersey Devils forward Steve Bernier to a one year deal — the Metropolitan Division club brought one more ex-Devil on board in the form of blue liner Marek Zidlicky.
Per Arthur Staple of Newsday, Zidlicky — who was connected in earlier rumors to the Boston Bruins — inked a one year deal worth $1.5 million and will arrive at training camp tomorrow.
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers, Zidlicky is coming off a season split between the Devils and the Detroit Red Wings; the offensive-minded blue liner was good for 7 goals and 34 points across both clubs in the regular season, and he skated out with Detroit in six post-season games before the club was eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs. At 38, Zidlicky will become the oldest member of New York’s blue line by a full seven years.
Zidlicky has remained a reasonably consistent puck-mover on the blue line over his career — he’s been good for 85 goals and 401 points in his 783 game career, putting him first in scoring among defensemen in his draft class. He’s also being signed to a reasonable deal, particularly given that the Leafs recently parted ways with a hefty chunk of salary with Michael Grabner‘s trade to Toronto; both Bernier and Zidlicky combined will cost the Islanders less than Grabner did alone, and they should provide a similar (if not improved) offensive value to the recently traded winger.
The add of Zidlicky, additionally, serves as a replacement for the team’s loss of Lubomir Visnovsky in the off-season; he provides the veteran presence that Visnovsky would have, but with more offensive upside. With short term and decent salary value, there’s not a lot to dislike about this move from the Islanders perspective.