Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Fletcher: I haven’t asked Zid to waive his no-trade for any specific trade

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild player moves Updated: February 15, 2012 - 12:27 PM

Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky has agreed to waive his no-trade clause to go to the New Jersey Devils, his agent, Larry Kelly, confirmed.

Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said it was all "very premature.”

Quick update from practice:  Forwards Jeff Taffe and Cody Almond have been recalled from Houston.  Kris Foucault has been reassigned and Carson McMillan (lower body) has been place on IR.

Zidlicky practiced today and afterwards said "We'll see next couple of hours ... I'm here right now."

Fletcher said nobody from Zidlicky’s camp has told him he’s willing to waive his no-trade to go to New Jersey.

Why? Because the two sides have had only general conversations since Zidlicky, on Jan. 31, asked to be traded during a meeting moments after pulling me aside to complain about being scratched for the third in what would become four consecutive games.

“I haven’t asked Zid to waive his no-trade for any specific trade,” Fletcher said by phone this morning. “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.”

Fletcher said that’s not to mean he won’t trade Zidlicky today, tomorrow or by the Feb. 27 trade deadline. But he’s not going to get boxed in to one team or necessarily boxed in to trading him by the deadline.

Fletcher said he could hold on to him until the summertime when he’s got a limited no-trade and it’s easier to trade him.

“Maybe he’s here next trade deadline and we’re having the same conversation,” Fletcher said.

Regardless, this is not a good situation.

It’s clear Zidlicky wants to go to New Jersey, where he’s buddies with Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora. As Fletcher said, maybe Kelly is just assuming he’s got a deal done with New Jersey and he’s getting ahead of it.

There is no doubt Fletcher and GM Lou Lamoriello have had a lot of conversations (and no, enough with the Zach Parise stuff; if the Devils trade for Zidlicky, Parise will not be part of it).

At the very least, it’s abundantly clear now just how unhappy Zidlicky is at this point in Minnesota and how much he wants out. This is not a player fighting to stay here. It seems Zidlicky’s camp is trying to force Fletcher’s hand, but he has options, too, and it’s clear he’s not going to allow himself to get boxed in to just New Jersey.

Fletcher said there are options for other teams, and good teams he believes Zidlicky would want to waive his no-trade clause to go to IF it gets to the point where Fletcher formally goes to him to sign a piece of paper.

One other team I keep hearing, as I mentioned on last night’s blog with New Jersey, is Chicago.

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