Nashville acquires D Michael Del Zotto from Rangers
The trade winds had been blowing for some time around Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto, and they finally blew him right out of the Big Apple. Today, New York dealt their former first-round pick (No. 20, 2008) to the Nashville Predators, in exchange for veteran blueliner Kevin Klein.
Del Zotto is a talented puck-moving defenseman who seemed to have fallen out of favor in New York. Since setting career highs in 2011-12 with 10 goals, 31 assists, 41 points and a +20 rating, “MDZ” seemed to suffer a decline in play, and was called out by new head coach Alain Vigneault earlier in the year. Del Zotto did not become a “much better player“, and with only two goals, 11 points and a -5 rating through 42 games this year, he was shipped off to the Predators.
There’s a solid chance Del Zotto can regain his ’11-’12 form in Nashville- head coach Barry Trotz’s system produces a lot of offense from the blueline, and should allow Del Zotto to flourish. He’s the left-handed shot they wanted to complement right-shooting defensemen like Shea Weber and Ryan Ellis, and should see time across from either one of those two on even strength as well as on the power-play.
Meanwhile, the Rangers pick up Kevin Klein, a veteran defender who is by no means a greybeard at 29 years of age. He was a second-round draft choice of the Predators back in 2003, sandwiched between Ryan Suter (No. 7) and Weber (No. 49), which turned out to be a strong draft class for Nashville on the back end. While Klein doesn’t match his draft-mates’ offensive production, he is an aggressive, defensive-defenseman who can capably fill a role on one of the bottom two defensive pairings in New York.