ST. PAUL, Minn. Another disappointing loss Tuesday night led to a lot of speculation on Wednesday about disgruntled Minnesota Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
Early Wednesday, reports surfaced that Zidlicky had agreed to waive his no-trade clause with a deal appearing to be close to completion with the New Jersey Devils. Apparently those reports were a bit premature.
According to Mike Russo of the Star Tribune, Zidlicky and Minnesota general manager Chuck Fletcher both deny that the defenseman has been asked to waive his no-trade clause and Fletcher said he is still pursuing all options on a possible trade.
"I haven't asked Zid to waive his no-trade for any specific trade," Fletcher told Russo. "I haven't called him and said anything's close.
"I can tell you for sure I'm planning on talking to other teams. We haven't traded Zid, we haven't made the decision to trade Zid at this point. I have not formally asked him to do anything because at this point I honestly don't have anything to take to him, I don't have anything for him to say yes or no to."
Zidlicky, who has one year remaining on his contract at 4 million, seems to be preparing for a possible move, though.
"We'll see next couple hours" Zidlicky told Russo early Wednesday. "I'm here right now."
Zidlicky, 35, certainly has struggled this season under first-year coach Mike Yeo. A three-time double-digit goal scorer, he has been held without a goal this season and has 13 assists and is a minus-7 in 39 games.
He complained to the Star Tribune in January after he was a healthy scratch for the third time in what ended up being four straight games out of the lineup. With defenseman Clayton Stoner going on injured reserve, Zidlicky has played in five straight games and has points in consecutive games.
"Three games in a row that I'm really happy with," Yeo said after practice Wednesday. "Whether its confidence or what it is, he seems very assertive like he's trying to make plays. He's been shooting the puck a lot more. So, he's definitely been playing very well."
As the Wild prepare for Thursday's home game against the Winnipeg Jets, Yeo said he wasn't going to have a "face-to-face chat" with Zidlicky and stressed the importance of having the entire team working together and being able to trust each other.
"We want people that want to go to war with each other, that's for sure," Yeo said. "Reality is that it's us against them. And by them I mean everybody. It's our group. We have to believe in ourselves and play for each other. We have to stick together and we have to want to fight through this together. So we need everybody all in for that."
And for whatever reason, Minnesota can't seem to win with Zidlicky on the ice. It can't be all traced to one defenseman, but the Wild is 12-27 when Zidlicky plays and 13-4 with him in the lineup. The numbers are even more staggering recently. In his past 21 games played, Minnesota is 2-14-5.
His agent, Larry Kelly, reportedly told Russo that Zidlicky had agreed to waive his no-trade clause to go to New Jersey, but Zidlicky denied he'd been asked to waive the no-trade clause for any specific deal. Asked if he wants out of Minnesota, Zidlicky told Russo: "Give me a couple days. That's tough to say right now."
Clutterbuck still out: The Wild continued the reshuffling of the roster on Wednesday, though they hope to get another player back in time for Thursday.
Forward Cal Clutterbuck missed practice again Wednesday with a charley horse, but Yeo said he hasn't been ruled out for Thursday's game.
"No, not definitely out," Yeo said of Clutterbuck." He's feeling a little bit better today, so we'll see how he's doing tomorrow."
Forwards Cody Almond and Jeff Taffe were recalled from the Houston Aeros. Kris Foucault, who made his NHL debut Tuesday night, was reassigned to Houston. Forward Carson McMillan was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury.
Yeo is looking for immediate production from Almond and Taffe.
"Cody is a big body and he's a guy that I'm expecting him to make a difference, not to just come in and just fill in," Yeo said. "Because he has that ability, he has the ability to come in, to be physical, to have a real impact in a game. He's got some skill and should be a real tough guy to play against, so I'd like to see that from him. And the other thing is Jeff, when he was up with us earlier, especially when things were going well on that west coast trip, he contributed offensively for us and he has that ability. But with that, both of these guys have experience and I think that's an important thing for our group right now." Sarah Servetnick contributed to this report.
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