This is a series of posts on the Devils' pending free agents (restricted and unrestricted). We'll cover their strengths and weaknesses and end up with a final verdict on whether we think the Devils should re-sign the player. There will also be a poll at the end of each post so you guys can weigh in with your thoughts.
2013 statistics: 48 games/4 goals, 15 assists, 19 points, minus-12 rating, 38 PIMs
Free-agent status: Unrestricted
2012-13 salary/cap hit: $4 million/$4 million (via Cap Geek)
Team history: Acquired in 2012 trade with Minnesota Wild for Nick Palmieri, Stephan Veilleux, Kurtis Foster and a third-round draft pick.
What he brings: There's no doubt that the Zidlicky trade catapulted New Jersey to its deep playoff run in 2012. The Czech defenseman plays an offense-first game, in which he joins the rush and makes plays. He was the Devils' lone offensive defenseman in 2013, often plays the power play and can go end to end like few other 'D' in the league.
What he lacks: Zidlicky's not young or cheap. Secondly, his minus-12 rating is proof of a general lack of defensive prowess. Unlike New Jersey's litany of offensive defensemen-- the Brian Rafalski, Scott Niedermayer types-- Zidlicky is prone to turnovers and sloppy play. Plus, he scored just four goals in 101 shots-- making him a 4 percent shooter. The Devils need more from their power-play point man than that.
Should he stay or should he go: The Devils have a bunch of promising young defensemen coming through their system. Eric Gelinas and Alexander Urbom each got tastes this year, and Jon Merrill could get the chance next year. Plus, if Adam Larsson truly is going to be an everyday player, the Devils are going to have to make some decisions. They already have eight 'D' under contract through next year, and with Zidlicky's down year and his age, I don't think there's any chance the Devils keep him. FINAL VERDICT: He gone.