When I heard the news of Michael Del Zotto’s trade today I felt two emotions. One, I was happy because the Rangers got rid of a piece they didn’t need and got back someone they did need in return.
Kevin Klein is like Dan Girardi lite. He’ll play his heart out on defense, kill penalties, but that’s about it. He’s physical as he can hit and he also blocks shots. I’m not going to expect much offense from Klein playing on a third pair with John Moore.
Anyway, back to Del Zotto. Del Zotto was drafted by the Rangers and was immediately apart of the Rangers because the Rangers had a void in his defensive position. This is similar to how Derek Stepan made the Rangers in 2010-11 season, though Stepan did not jump straight into the NHL.
I really wanted Del Zotto to succeed. I truly did. He looked flashy and it was us who drafted him. There were really high hopes for him when he came up with us. He was supposed to be like Kris Letang and be the best offensive defenseman we had since Brian Leetch.
There however were three problems Michael Del Zotto never overcame since joining the Rangers.
1) His skating. It’s suspect at best. He simply can’t skate up to the ability he has in his hands with the puck. This also effects how he plays defense.
2) His shooting. His shot is fine, it’s just he misses the net a lot. It’s like Tim Tebow throwing a football. Sorry for that visual. Anyway, this is something that has needed work for a while and he’s never corrected this flaw.
3) Not playing hard enough on defense. Del Zotto was not a skilled defenseman when it came to the defensive part of playing defenseman. He didn’t hit a lot, which is ok, Nick Lidstrom didn’t either. But he wasn’t good at getting the puck back from the opposing team. His inability to play the defensive zone also compromised the entire team at times, some of the time the absolute worst possible time.
I hope Del Zotto finds a niche in Nashville doing something positive for them. It’s hard for me to wish him the worst because I truly think he gave it his best go and the ability he lacked was out of his control. He simply couldn’t adapt fully to the team.
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