Marek Zidlicky, Alex Kovalev

Devils acquire Zidlicky for Foster, Palmieri, Veilleux and picks

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The primary complaint among New Jersey Devils fans is that they believe Marek Zidlicky costs too much – which is pretty reasonable since they’re trying to re-sign Zach Parise and have that pesky bankruptcy thing to deal with.

As it turns out, it will also cost the Devils a big package, even if it’s more about quantity than quality.

The New Jersey Devils confirmed that they sent the Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster, young forward Nick Palmieri, winger Stephane Veilleux, a 2012 second-round pick and a conditional 2013 third round pick for Zidlicky. (Stay tuned for the conditions of that third-rounder.)

Devils angle

New Jersey is likely banking on the fact that Zidlicky was once a second or third-tier talent among offensive defensemen. (That’s not meant as an insult, by the way.) The Devils’ defense isn’t what it once was, so the hope is that he could push a hot team to true contender status.

Again, the sticking point for some is that he has one more season on his deal, with a $4 million cap hit in 2012-13. (Naturally, the flip side is that the Devils might be glad he has that extra year if he ends up being a big success.)

Lamoriello keeps upping the ante in Martin Brodeur’s swan song years, but he’s frequently done his boldest work around trade deadlines anyway.

(OK, his boldest work usually involved compulsively firing head coaches, but you know what I mean.)

Update: 22-year-old Nick Palmieri hasn’t been a smash-hit in his career so far, but the 79th pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft makes the deal a little sweeter for the Wild. His ceiling seems limited, but perhaps he’ll flourish in a change of scenery.

Beyond potentially giving the Wild a solid piñata swing or two in the next two drafts, it’s also a deal that is soaking with nostalgia.

source: APAfter a couple cups of coffee with the Atlanta Thrashers, Foster truly started his NHL career with the Wild as he spent parts of four seasons (2005-06 to 08-09) in Minnesota before a catastrophic injury nearly ended his career. (It also rightfully heated up the “Let’s get rid of dopey old touch-up icing” debates).

Foster’s bounced around the NHL since then, with stops in Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Edmonton and New Jersey. His value is iffy because of defensive flaws, but he has great size and a formidable slap shot. It’s hard to be too tough on him because his mere presence in the NHL is pretty inspiring in itself.

Veilleux also enjoyed some of his best days with Minnesota. The 30-year-old forward played parts of six seasons with the Wild before bouncing back and forth from the Lightning/Devils and the minors.

Perhaps Foster might find his footing again in the place he enjoyed his greatest successes, but I’d guess the best takeaways are the picks and merely getting something for a long-time defenseman who went sour with Mike Yeo in power.

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I’d say Wild GM Chuck Fletcher did pretty well while Lamoriello rolled the dice in an interesting way, but what do you think? Fire away, hockey fans – particularly those of the Wild and Devils.

Capitals shine glaring light on Blues’ goalie woes

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save during the first period against the San Jose Sharks in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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If you’re reaction to the headline “Something is off about the St. Louis Blues” was “Yeah, their goaltending,” then Thursday only emboldened that opinion.

It wasn’t just that the Washington Capitals bombarded the Blues by a score of 7-3. It’s that they really didn’t need to fire a whole lot of shots on goal to get to seven.

Here’s a harsh rule of thumb: when both of your goalies play in a game and each one barely makes more saves than goals allowed, that’s an awful night. Take a look at what Jake Allen and Carter Hutton went through:

Allen: six saves, four goals allowed in 25:11 time on ice
Hutton: five saves, three goals allowed in 35:49

Allen got pulled from the contest twice, by the way. He’s been pulled from four games since Dec. 30. Woof.

Even before these horrendous performances, the Blues goalies have been shaky. Hutton came into tonight with an ugly .898 save percentage; Allen wasn’t much better with a .900 mark.

Those are the type of numbers that would make Dallas Stars fans cringe, or at least experience some uncomfortable familiarity.

Now, is it all on Hutton and Allen? Much like with the Stars’ embattled goalies, much of the struggles probably come down to a team struggling in front of them.

Even so, if you assign more of the blame to Allen and Hutton, nights like this Capitals thrashing definitely strengthen your argument. Yikes.

Rangers overwhelm Leafs, make life pretty easy for Lundqvist in win

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 19:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers faces a shot in the warm-up prior to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on January 19, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Heading into Thursday, many were wondering how the New York Rangers will handle Henrik Lundqvist‘s struggles. Instead, the focus shifted to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ difficulties, perhaps specifically in dealing with Morgan Rielly‘s absence.

The Rangers handily won this one 5-2, at least giving Lundqvist the win. He wasn’t especially busy, stopping 23 out of 25 shots, so you can probably file his story under “To be continued.”

Lundqvist wasn’t oblivious to his team’s impressive overall play.

Really, it was all about the waves of attackers the Rangers can send at opponents and the trouble that caused for the Maple Leafs. It wasn’t the easiest night for Frank Corrado, in particular, who took a couple costly penalties.

The Rangers’ next two games come in a road contest vs. the Red Wings on Sunday and a home game against the Kings on Monday. Perhaps those matches will serve as a better barometer for where Lundqvist’s really at, as he passed tonight’s test … but it wasn’t a particularly difficult one.

So, is Mike Condon actually really good? He certainly was against Columbus

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 8: Mike Condon #1 of the Ottawa Senators stands at the bench during a break in a game against the Edmonton Oilers at Canadian Tire Centre on January 8, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Considering their numbers heading in, many were perplexed when the Ottawa Senators essentially replaced Andrew Hammond with Mike Condon. Now many are perplexed by just how strong Condon’s often been for Ottawa.

Thursday might stand as the prime example that this guy could be better than many expected.

The Columbus Blue Jackets dominated much of the play, generating a 42-28 shots on goal advantage, but Ottawa ended up winning 2-0 tonight.

Condon already came into tonight with a solid save percentage (.915 before this shutout), and he’s now won four of his last five games. Three of his four career shutouts have come this season.

Ignoring his one relief appearance with Pittsburgh this season for the sake of simplicity, just consider his tough times with Montreal last season. He went 21-25-6 with a shaky .903 save percentage.

This marks just his 21st start and 23rd appearance of this season, so it’s not a guaranteee for future results. Still … it’s another example that goalies are as just about as unpredictable as they are crucial to a team’s fate.

More and more, it seems like Condon might just be a difference-maker, and in the positive sense this time around.

Greiss blanks Stars as Isles win in first game of post-Capuano era

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19:  Doug Weight of the New York Islanders handles his first game as head coach against the Dallas Stars at the Barclays Center on January 19, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders began the Doug Weight era in the same way Jack Capuano’s ended: with a shutout.

Yeah, it’s easy to forget that the Islanders actually won their last game under Capuano, consider all that’s happened since.

They blanked the Boston Bruins 4-0 on Monday and generated a 3-0 shutout against the Dallas Stars on Thursday. It’s quite a feather in the cap of goalie Thomas Greiss, who owns these back-to-back shutouts.

(It’s worth mentioning that, for all the Bruins’ and Stars’ flaws, they can be very explosive on offense …)

That Monday shutout wasn’t enough for Capuano to save his job, and the Isles still have a long way to go after this encouraging outcome. The East’s second wild card spot still seems like a long shot for Weight & Co.

Even so, the Islanders will take it. They play their next five games at home and seven of eight in Brooklyn, so if there’s ever a time for movement, it would logically come now.

If nothing else, maybe life will be a bit better for John Tavares. He scored another goal on Thursday to add to his beautiful 1-0 tally.

Baby steps, right?