Lou Lamoriello had the right idea when he acquired Marek Zidlicky at the 2012 trade deadline. The Devils were in need of a puck-moving defenseman, and Zidlicky seemed to be the answer.
Just over a year later, it is starting to look like Zidlicky was not the answer.
The 36-year-old only has 27 points in his 70 games as a Devil and has a plus/minus of minus-12.
Now that his contract has expired, the Devils can either re-sign him or look elsewhere for another puck-moving defenseman.
If the team elects to let Zidlicky walk, it has a few other options to find a new puck-moving defenseman.
Lamoriello can search within the Devils’ system. Players that now reside with the Albany Devils such as Jon Merrill or Alex Urbom may be ready to step up to an NHL role. Obviously, this is a risky move because these two have not proven themselves in the NHL yet.
Or the Devils may believe that young defensemen such as Adam Larsson or Peter Harrold can anchor the team on the power play.
Then, there is the option of finding someone external.
The Devils can trade for an experienced defenseman or possibly find one on the free-agent market. Mark Streit, the current captain of the New York Islanders, is set to become a free agent July 1. He would be a good addition for the Devils, as would Jordan Leopold or Sergei Gonchar. These three players may be older, but the Devils have enough young defensemen that see the ice well. The team needs at least one veteran puck-moving defenseman to help them develop.