Apr 8, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto (4) carries the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated New York 4-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Should Glen Sather Trade Del Zotto?

March 16, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) as Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto (4) defends during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Del Zotto is in a love/hate relationship with the New York Rangers fan base on and off the ice, but the situation off the ice is a whole different story along the team and fans (see Twitter).  Del Zotto has been the whipping boy the past couple season by earning a nickname that goes by “Michael Del Zaster”.

Del Zotto was heading into the 2012-2013 lockout season as one of the moved improved players on the New York Rangers. Things were looking up for MDZ and hockey season finally began in January and it did not take long too realize Del Zotto did not look like the same player as he did in the 2011-2012 season. He chased the puck into the corners at the wrong time. He followed forwards around the net instead of guarding the line next to Lundqvist. He tried to make stretch passes at the wrong time and pinches too much in the offensive zone usually causing a 2 on 1 breakout play for the other team. All these things were frustrating and sometimes led to the other team scoring. He made rookie forwards look like superstars when it came to 1 0n 1 defense.  MDZ has basically forgot all basic fundamentals of how to play defense.

The situation with MDZ is interesting though. You would think a player who has played this badly would have been traded by now. There are teams out there who probably like MDZ and see him as a good player in his future career. You have to think that he is being kept for a few reasons. One could be that with Marc Staal’s future is uncertain. Yes, his eye has improved, but he has said it will never be 100% healed and Staal also stated he did not feel comfortable playing with an injured eye so it is unsure when exactly he will be ready to play a NHL game without second guessing his game. You could also say our defensemen prospect(s) are not ready and with a limited salary to sign our restricted free agents there was definitely no room to sign any off-season free agents on defense.

This season has been interesting alone. You can say players will be getting a pass do to the lock-out and may be given a second chance just like teammate Brad Richards is being given. With a new coach who has a more offensive system planned for New York, will Del Zotto strive here? Will he finally show what he is capable of? Alain Vigneault has stated that he likes to let his skilled players play their own game. This can only hurt or help MDZ and it’s only a matter of time before we find the answer.

Tags: MDZ Michael Del Zotto New York Rangers NYR

  • Centerman

    During the last full season DZ was much improved from the season before. So much so that there was high expectations for him.
    When deciding what to do with Del Zotto, you have to look at his last 2 seasons. 1 was a (Lockout) shortened 48 game season with little to no training camp. Players need training camp to get in game shape. Without it players get injured. This is what happened to DZ
    The other season began 2 years ago. Del Zotto was out to prove himself in the NHL and he did so with a
    10 G 31 A (41 pts) and a +20 Rating. He was a different player than he had been the last year in which he was sent back to Hartford.
    These last 2 years are what you have to look at with DZ. There’s a full season coming up and during the last full season DZ played in, he was a different player. The Rangers have to look at what Del Zotto can give them and 40 points +20 from a Rearguard is useful. If he isn’t on that pace or looks off in Camp then move him but right now his value is down. If he’s not a great defensive defenseman that’s not the worst thing if the the Rangers can score 3 goals a game this year.
    The Rangers didn’t move him at the Entry Draft to clear cap space. Now he’s here till camp begins at the least. Time to stop complaining about Del Zotto and hope he improves. If not then we can trade him out of here and let him score 40 for another team.

    • zuccsaga36

      He was a minus player the second half of that season. He was also the worst player on the team in the playoffs that year as well. His mistakes resulted in njd advancing. You also need to understand how inflated his statistics where that season due to gaborik and his 41 goals Richards and his 25 goals cally and his 29 goals. Funny gaborik struggled to score this past season and delzottos stats where horrid. He gets more ice time then any other defender on the team with our top offensive players he plays full two min pps where he produces absolutely nothing. 11/12 he played 102 games getting every single pp he scored in that spanned of 102 games 2 pp goals 2 that’s absolutely terrible. You keep bringing up his offensive numbers and plus minus like that statistic even means anything. Do you even see how many times delzottos partner has to bail him out or how many times hank had to make a difficult save because. Delzottos inability to play defense? How many 2-1 have gone against us in the bruins series alone because delzotto can’t make a simple play? Or because he’s out of position and two slow to get back in the play? Dude come on brother open your eyes. We played 48 games this season and 12 playoff games out of all those games right off the bat take the playoffs out delzotto was absolutely the worst player on the team post season so now take those 48 games think long and hard how many games do. You think he actually played well in? Ill be nice and say maybe 10. That’s horrid for a player who makes 2.5 come on bro. It took stralman 3 games to take the top 4 role from delzotto it stayed that way until staal got hurt. Where delzotto stepped up and played maybe 4 good back to back games. Then boom back to his normal self. The kid led the league in turnovers. Notice how he can’t hold the blue line and keep the puck in ? Watch the puck could be below the circle and he’s already turning around to retreat to the redline because he doesn’t want to get burned. He loses every 50/50 puck race and battle. He can’t read plays he can’t think the game consistently makes the wrong choice in when to pinch when to fall back when to play the man and when to play the puck he doesn’t tie a single person up infront he will abanndon the man infront to chase a man or he will drop down for no reason. In a clean cut 2-1 as the defender what do you do ? Ill tell you what to do you position yourself to play the pass and allow your goaltender a clean view of the puck you don’t drop down creating a 2-0 because you have slid out of position it happened 20000000 times this year and last. Listen dude he’s making the same mistakes he did as a rookie he gets more ice time then he should because he was torts boy. Did you know torts said and I quote delzotto reminds me of my son. A big time defender asked torts why he’s not getting more pp time and I believe he said because you don’t hold a candle stick to delzotto. Now do you honestly think delzottos 41 points with all that pp time what was is 10 goals is more impressive then mcdonagh who didn’t get anywhere near the pp ice time delzotto got his 32 points and 7 goals playing as a shutdown defender? I don’t you give mcdonagh delzottos pp mins I bet my life he scores more then delzottos 2 in 102 games. Our pp looked the best with brassard zuccarello cally mcdonagh and stralman why because they can all read react and make plays something delzotto just can’t do. How is it a shutdown d man in mcdonagh has 3 less goals and 9 less points with slim to none pp time then the so called offensive stud. Open your eyes and watch his terrible defensive play and his horrid offensive awareness. We don’t see eye to eye on delzotto and I don’t know why I read your comments I agree with almost every one expect delzottos so just know I do respect your opinion just think your very off base look at Gerardo’s numbers

      • Centerman

        He was not drafted to be a 2 way defenseman. He had to learn that on the fly during Torts regime because until last year the Rangers were one of the worst puck possession teams in the NHL. Last year Torts changed a few things to satisfy Sather. If you remember early on they played a more open system. Do you remember the goal Gabby scored from that one touch pass? Gaborik got past the Bruins 1-4 trap and scored on one skate almost behind the goal line. That was early in the season. Sather wanted Torts to open things up and that was a set breakout play. F-3 made a one touch pass. Opening things up didnt work very well so Torts went back to what he knew would work. He added an overload in the D Zone so teams didn’t get to take shots at the “low zone collapse” all day long.
        My point is that’s when Del Zotto played better. Early in the season when given free reign in the O zone. There were some 2 on 1′s going the other way but DZ played more confidently and to me, it showed. That was for the 1st 3-4 weeks of the season before things went back to normal “Torts” North/South hockey. DZ’s play regressed from there. This is why I think in a Puck Possession Game where the forwards are regrouping instead of
        Dump ‘n’ Chase. The Defenseman will get a better look at the other team’ set in the neutral zone and DZ will be able to make a better 1st pass. I think DZ will benefit from not having dirty looks from Torts or Sully on the bench. Maybe he’s a little looser and we see an improvement in his decision making and overall play. I’d say we have to allow him at least up to the All Star game before getting rid of him. He’s 23 years old. He can’t get worse bro. Last year was hard to gauge too because it seems some or many players had given up on Torts & Sully. The guys Acquired at the deadline came in and filled holes but they weren’t fed up with the coach and Sully.
        If we could get Jordan Eberle for DZ then I’d say do it but DZ’s value is down. This year the forwards are gonna score more and so will DZ.

        The change back by Torts to his system after the 1st 3-4 weeks of the season is why Sather fired him. IMO anyway. He thought Torts would always go back to that shot blocking mentality. Give DZ 2-3 months to show what he’s got. If not, then see if we can get a young RW or an NHL ready Goaltender for him to step behind Hank. DZ would be great in TB and the kid Anders Lindback could learn behind the best for 4-5 seasons while being the backup. Biron may retire or sign elsewhere. Sather could trade for the kid Allen from St Louis too!
        The one think that supports your arguement is that we have all lefties. We need a few more righties on the rearguard! Maybe a Pitkinnen or Hjarlmarsson. I’d even take Hainsey. 32 years old and pretty big American guy from CT! Bam

        • zuccsaga36

          Bro he was given free reign in the o zone every single season he sucks its that simple. He’s a sixth or seventh guy here now. Rangers will be over the cap when Stepan and zucc re signs who you trading then to keep this waste huh? Staal hahaha no he’s the best d man on the team girardi yea no way mcdonagh yes fat chance? Delzottos gone when they resign I can’t wait he can’t make easy passes and like I said mcdonagh playing zero pp time was 3 goals and 9 points behind coddled delzaster and mcdonagh played shutdown mins delzottos the worst player I have ever see postseason and cost us. Two playoffs its a joke. I’m tired of this kid he’s terrible very few people still think he’s good very few.