One of the more obvious "where there's smoke, there's fire" hints that a trade is coming is a regular player not practicing. So let the aimless speculation begin over in New Jersey, where Marek Zidlicky is the only Devil regular not practicing in Newark, according to Bergen Record beat writer Tom Gulitti.
Zidlicky has played in every game this season for the Devils this season. The 36-year-old Czech defender has four goals and 15 points in 36 games, and plays the point on New Jersey's top power play unit. There have been questions about his play in his own end though. Zidlicky, who doesn't play much on the penalty kill, is a minus-8. Still, he could be valuable to a team with a need for an offensive defenseman.
Adding to the speculation is this tweet from Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.
Now, there is some confusion as to whether or not the Devils can actually trade their first-round pick. The Kovalchuk contract circumvention penalty has forced the team to give up a first-rounder by a certain time, but it is to be believed that they can give up their pick in 2014 and still appropriately serve the penalty. Kovalchuk, incidentally, may be the impetus for this trade, as his shoulder injury has left the Devils without their star forward for the last week and a half.
Incidentally, the 2013 NHL Draft will be held in Newark, making this the biggest Lou Lamoriello "anti-marketing" move in a long, storied history of doing whatever he wants to improve his club.