Kevin Klein

In four of the first five games of the 2013-14 season, Michael Del Zotto played around 20 minutes for coach Alain Vigneault. It’s now been 11 straight games where he hasn’t been anywhere near that, and he most recently played a mere 12 minutes in yesterday’s loss to the Islanders. Vigneault said this earlier in the year after a healthy scratching him a few times:

“I’ve been told that Michael Del Zotto is a much better player than I’ve seen so far.”

And just like that, he won’t have to see him much more.

This deal seems to be about a couple things:

1) The Predators have Kevin Klein under contract at $2.9 million a year until 2018. It’s possible they just think they can find a better use for that money than a third pair guy. Alain Vigneault is familiar with him from coaching against him in the West.

2) The Rangers, clearly, have soured on Del Zotto. That relationship just wasn’t working out, and they seem content enough to let another team haggle over a new contract with him because…who the heck knows what that guy’s worth at this point, and he’s an RFA this summer (making $2.55m this season).

I came across a couple tweets I found relevant:

And

It’s pretty crazy how fast Del Zotto’s stock has tanked. The kid is a 23-year-old who’s shown in the past that he play like a top pair guy, and the Rangers could only turn him into a depth defender and nothing more.

I’m not gonna declare a winner or loser, because the Rangers wanted to break up with Del Zotto, which they did, and we don’t know if Nashville will get him signed or not. The Rangers were also in need of a right-shot D, which they got.

In the meantime, the biggest surprise was that in the break-up with MDZ, the Rangers weren’t able to recoup more than one lonely Kevin Klein, left on the front step in a box to the left, to the left. That relationship is over.

Comments (7)

  1. Del Zotto went from being mentioned as an Olympics candidate to healthy scratch in a hurry

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/notebook/_/page/canadaroster_predictions_020813/team-canada-roster-predictions

  2. DZ has played +20 min in the past , but nothing this season. He was on the 3rd pairing with John Moore for most of his time. Still this trade is a testament to how poorly he’s played. Bad pinches, and giveaways will get you benched pretty fast. Poor kid was never going to get a clean slate with NYR. I think a smaller/low-key market will help him to find his game without all the pressure of NY.

  3. Kevin Klein has played on the 2nd pairing in Nashville, not the 3rd, going back to when Hamhuis was here. He’s very very unremarkable but at the same time, you know what you’re getting and he practically never makes any big, obvious mistakes. I think Preds fans in general will be sorry to see him go.

    The reason, I guess, that Poile moved him, was that Nashville had 4 lefty D and sooner or later Jones was going to push Klein down the roster or one of them would have to play on their off side (I know Bourne thinks this isn’t a big deal but coaches and GMs sometimes seem to). It’s also possible that contract-wise, Klein was at his maximum value. $2.9m a year is pretty good for a 2nd pairing D with the cap where it is, but when it goes up over the next couple seasons that savings might be less important.

  4. Amazing that’s all the rangers could get. I would gladly take a chance on Del Zotto for Klein! That’s a bad breakup right there

  5. If someone can teach defense to Del Zotto, it’s the Preds. They turn great d-men out there so often it’s silly. Too bad they can’t figure out how to do the same with forwards.

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