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:
It does seem odd NYR would want a 3d pair 29 y.o. being paid like a 2d pair guy till ’18, in return for a guy who played top pair at 21-22.
— 67Sound (@67sound) January 22, 2014
Kevin Klein’s a very average defenseman and maybe b avg who is 29 and signed for 4.5 more seasons at 2.9MM. Striking eval of MZD’s value.
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) January 22, 2014
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.