UFA Marek Zidlicky is a solid offensive defenseman — and in that strain, it’s reasonable to look at him as a potential depth addition for an NHL club.
For the Boston Bruins, though, it’s a surprising move — yet one that TVA’s Renaud Lavoie suggests could be a possibility for the Atlantic Division club.
Le dg des Bruins Don Sweeney a mentionné qu'il négociait avec Marek Zidlicky. Une entente entre les deux parties est possible. #tvasports
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) July 30, 2015
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, the 38 year old blue liner has been both an effective puck-moving defenseman and a high-talent scorer for most of his career. With an illustrious career back in the SM-liiga of the Czech Republic and some perfectly acceptable scoring figures here in North America, it’s not unreasonable to consider that a team is willing to take him on for an extra season.
The Bruins, though, are a curious team to be considering him.
On one hand, the club clearly struggled in the 2014-2015 season due to stagnant offense. Despite always valuing strong two way play, the Bruins have sometimes relied too much on using defensively-oriented talent alone to try and win games — so seeing management pursue a player known for his offense is somewhat reassuring. Zidlicky would be a valuable third pairing, potentially sneaking into the top four with Boston’s current defensive corps; all options considered, the Czech blue liner isn’t completely out there.
For all the struggles Boston had with offense, though, the club had even more issues with age catching up to them. A 38-year old Chara was still strong on the ice, but nowhere near the guaranteed game changer he once was for the club — and coupled with an aging Chris Kelly and Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins were always just one injury away from going on another losing streak. Adding another 38 year old, even one who seems to still be playing at an NHL-calibre level, is a step backwards for the club — the New Jersey Devils mentality of experience over youth could be Boston’s downfall if the team continues to only get older.
Of course, maybe the most important thing to consider is that Zidlicky isn’t the only free agent available on the market — and the bigger question is still why Cody Franson hasn’t been inked to a contract yet. If teams are looking to reinforce their blue line, Franson seems a smarter option than Zidlicky while he’s still available.