Atlantic

Detroit Stays Safe with Marek Zidlicky, Avoids Phaneuf Gamble

Detroit Stays Safe with Marek Zidlicky, Avoids Phaneuf Gamble
Christopher Hair

The Detroit Red Wings finally got their man. After being linked to every right handed defenseman in the league and even some not right handed ones, Detroit nabbed Marek Zidlicky from the New Jersey Devils.

The deal for Zidlicky may not seem like much on the surface. He still plays over 20 minutes a night and will help the Red Wings power play, which already ranks 1st in the NHL. He becomes Detroit’s only right handed shot on the blue line and that will help them balance their pairings out a little better. He won’t be an upgrade on their top pair with Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, but he will settle in nicely on the bottom four pairings with either Kyle Quincey once he returns or Brendan Smith. That has value for the Red Wings.

But the biggest value that acquiring Zidlicky brings to Detroit is that it meant they didn’t pay for Dion Phaneuf.

This isn’t a knock on Phaneuf. He’s a better player than Zidlicky, but the price of acquisition was likely to be much higher than what Detroit ultimately pays for Marek. Toronto would have been crazy to start a conversation about Phaneuf with anything lower than asking for Detroit’s 2015 1st rounder and one of Tyler Bertuzzi, Phillipe Hudon, Dylan Larkin or Anthony Mantha.

For Detroit, combining the assets they would send out along with Phaneuf’s contract would be prohibitive to continuing their unreal run of excellence. Dion is a left handed shot, so he wouldn’t help Detroit’s balance and his $7 million cap hit over the next four seasons is an incredible hurdle. Especially when Detroit needs to extend DeKeyser, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan over the next two seasons. At least one, if not two, of those players would have to be gone to fit Phaneuf into the cap.

Plus, it’s not as if Phaneuf is going to be a panacea for any defensive issues the Red Wings have. His advanced numbers are not good. His SAT number of negative 167 is 270th out of 287 NHL defensemen. Toronto isn’t a good team and they have not been a possession team in any way for years, but that number is still terrible. Especially for someone making that kind of money. Zidlicky’s numbers are better, with a negative 55. New Jersey is a better possession team, but still not a good one. And this isn’t a small sample size trend.

Phaneuf has been an extremely negative possession player for three straight seasons. For the previous three years before 2014-15, Zidlicky was a strongly positive player. Zidlicky projects to be just the kind of player that should fit well into Mike Babcock’s system. Dion Phaneuf may not have taken well to the Detroit culture.

Getting Zidlicky doesn’t suddenly make the Red Wings a much better team. Given the trades the New York Rangers have made, this doesn’t even make them favorites in their own conference. But in choosing Zidlicky over Phaneuf, the Red Wings are much better for the next few years and possibly even this season. Sometimes the trades you don’t make are the best ones.

Atlantic
Christopher Hair
@TwoTonTwenty1

Christopher Hair has been an avid hockey fan for 20 years. He grew up on the Hollywood Kings of the late 80’s and early 90’s with Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Kelly Hrudey, and Luc Robitaille. Growing up in Glendale, Arizona he is living proof that hockey fans can be made and come from the desert. He is also an editor for Five for Howling.

More in Atlantic

NHL: OCT 09 Blue Jackets at Sabres

Future NHL Dynasty Series: Buffalo Sabres

Robert NassoMarch 24, 2015
NHL: DEC 01 Panthers at Blue Jackets

Atlantic Division IR Report: Cue The Medic

Chris WasselMarch 23, 2015
NCAA HOCKEY: DEC 29 Three Rivers Classic - Penn State v Robert Morris

Casey Bailey Joins the Toronto Maple Leafs

Cat SilvermanMarch 23, 2015
NHL: MAR 06 Sabres at Senators

Breaking Down Mike Hoffman’s Big Season With Senators

Sean TierneyMarch 22, 2015
NHL: FEB 22 Panthers at Penguins

Giving the Panthers Credit for ‘Goal of a Lifetime’

Chris WasselMarch 22, 2015
NHL: MAR 19 Bruins at Senators

NHL Enhanced Stats – Atlantic Division Shot Attempts Analysis

Sean TierneyMarch 21, 2015
Mooseheads

CapGeek Founder Matthew Wuest Passes, Analytics Community Mourns

Sean TierneyMarch 20, 2015
NHL: MAR 19 Bruins at Senators

Atlantic Playoff Bubble: Bruins vs Senators Fallout

Chris WasselMarch 20, 2015
OHL: OCT 15 Erie Otters at London Knights

Leafs Draft Forecast: Analytics on Marner, Hanifin, Strome

Sean TierneyMarch 20, 2015

YOUR HOCKEY YOUR WAY, BE SEEN BE HEARD BE A SLAPSHOT FAN TODAY! PART OF THE FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK

Slapshot on Facebook

Slapshot On Twitter

Copyright © 2014 Today’s Slapshot, All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Use/Privacy | Copyright | Site Map | About Us | Authors | Contact Us