Showdown: Yandle vs. Zidlicky

As the trade deadline approaches each year, playoff-bound NHL teams scour the market for ways to bolster their blue-line depth, and the 2015 deadline was no different. With less than two months to go before the postseason begins, top defensemen were at a premium, with names like Andrej Sekera, Jeff Petry and Zbynek Michalek garnering interest from multiple teams.

An additional tandem gained traction in the days leading up to Monday's deadline, when Arizona's Keith Yandle was put in play and New Jersey's Marek Zidlicky emerged as an intriguing rental option. The New York Rangers went all-in to land Yandle, giving up NHL defenseman John Moore, top prospect Anthony Duclair and a pair of high picks in the deal. Meanwhile, Zidlicky was picked up by the Detroit Red Wings after general manager Ken Holland cut bait on discussions with the Toronto Maple Leafs surrounding a potential trade for Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf.

Both the Rangers and the Red Wings are considered contenders in an Eastern Conference that is wide open, and the two teams, replete with their new blue-line additions, will square off Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Here are a few things to consider:

Style: Both Yandle and Zidlicky are skilled offensive defensemen who can move the puck well and help a team's power play. Neither of the two is regarded as the most stout defensively, but both Holland and Rangers general manager Glen Sather were aware of those shortcomings when they made the deals. The feeling is that the upside of their offensive contributions greatly outweigh any defensive concerns in cost-benefit analysis.

"They know what they're getting," said one NHL scout.

Also, there is the belief that both players will benefit from the change of scenery, moving to much better and more talented teams, and that their play will reflect that. Said one Western Conference executive on the 28-year-old Yandle: "This guy is a game-changer," adding that the switch from a floundering team to a strong one will reveal his best qualities rather than expose his flaws.

"He's going to have been on the ice in every close game [for Arizona] for every empty-net goal against. [In New York] he'll be better than people think. His skill set is outstanding. They'll want to tone down the risk factor, but by virtue of him playing with the lead more it's a good fit."

Fit: Yandle fulfills a long-standing need for the Rangers to have a bona fide power-play quarterback. The team added veteran Dan Boyle in free agency last summer to address that issue, but Boyle hasn't been a good fit in that role. One NHL player said that while Yandle will, at times, cheat defensively to join the offensive rush, he'll be a clear upgrade on special teams.

"He'll be good for the Rangers' power play," the player said.

Zidlicky also adds another weapon on the power play, though the Wings don't need much help in that department. However, the 38-year-old vet also fulfills a longstanding need for Detroit to adding another right-handed shot on defense. And considering Detroit's highly skilled style of play, Zidlicky should be a seamless fit for Mike Babcock's squad.

"I liked Zidlicky a lot. He fits into the way they play the game," said the same Western Conference exec. "He's a top-end puck mover and you can use him on either PP unit. He thinks the game like a skill player and he can get players the puck. Stylistically, that was a home run."

Return: The Rangers gave up a ton to acquire Yandle, but you can see why. Players of his caliber rarely become available, especially at this time of the year. Sather clearly wants to capitalize while star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist remains in the prime of his career and go all-in with the East up for grabs. Plus, though the Rangers leveraged some of their future assets to make this move, the team definitely views Yandle as someone who is part of the organization's long-term plan. A source told ESPN.com that the team would like to re-sign him and view him as a potential part of their leadership structure for years to come.

Holland gave up much less to acquire Zidlicky -- a conditional third-round pick in 2016 -- but keep in mind that Zidlicky is a rental player with 10 extra years and many more hard miles on him than Yandle. Zidlicky has fared well even as he's gotten older, though, and appears to have plenty in the tank as the Wings prepare for a playoff run. The Czech veteran waived a full no-move clause to join Detroit, so clearly he sees potential with his new club.

Prediction: The Yandle acquisition will be one that pays dividends for the Rangers in the years to come, but I like Detroit to pick up their third straight win and edge the Blueshirts on Wednesday night at The Joe.