Rangers should avoid trade market

November 11, 2013, by
Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

In case you missed it, this past Friday Larry Brooks reported Michael Del Zotto may be in AV’s dog house, pointing to the fact he only played 2:59 in the third period against Columbus, and could potentially be moved. While I don’t doubt the coaching staff and organization as a whole may be losing their patience with MDZ, a trade still seems miss timed.

At this point, I’m not sure what kind of value MDZ would bring after a benching. While he has improved in his own zone since his rookie year, his offense still leaves much to be desired for a supposed ‘offensive defensemen’. As Brooksie pointed out, MDZ has only scored four power play goals in his last 255 games after scoring three power play goals in his first nine. Not exactly a trend worth boasting about.

When a young player’s production flatlines the way MDZ’s has, you tend to look at the coaching staff and see if perhaps they are misusing a player or not putting them in a position to succeed. However, in MDZ’s case, it’s hard if not impossible to blame those behind the bench.

According to (the advanced stats site preferred by the hockey nerds), both Torts and AV have consistently deployed MDZ against third and fourth line competition, started him primarily in the offensive zone (after a whistle), and have given him over two and half minutes of power play time per game. You could make the argument that no one has done less with more.

From a systems stand point, the previous regime and AV both want their defensemen to be active in the offensive zone with forechecking, well-timed pinches, and joining the rush. So you can’t say coaching has hindered MDZ’s offense. And it’s not like the opportunities haven’t been there. Last season Del Zotto was in the top 25 in the league in missed shots among defensemen, but was outside of the top 70 in goals.

Beyond the numbers, I think the biggest problem is that Del Zotto is still playing the right side despite being a lefty. This makes it more difficult with holding the blueline along the wall in the OZ and coming up with and/or clearing pucks out of your own zone. The problem, at least from a roster perspective, is that he’s not taking the other left defensemen spots (McDonagh, Staal, and Moore) anytime soon.

Which brings us back to the trade rumor. Moving MDZ for another lefty is pointless. It would have to be for a righty. While AV and Arniel have both stated the desire for having another righty on the blueline, unfortunately they are hard to come by.

Right now only 1/3 of defensemen in the NHL are right-handed, so anyone elite will obviously come at a premium, which means more than MDZ would have to go the other way. With the way the Rangers are playing right now, does it make sense to start packaging players? Probably not. If the team rebounds, then maybe you make a move, as player value and team leverage could swing a little in our direction.

With a new coaching staff and system to learn the Rangers have had enough change to deal with this season. Maybe we should avoid trying to acquire a new toy to play with and just go with what we got for once. MDZ’s time to be moved will eventually come, likely before the season is over, but it doesn’t make sense at this point in the season.

"Rangers should avoid trade market", 3 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.


  1. Chuck says:

    So what did MDZ/Torts do so well in 2011-2012 to help him have such a successful season? Can AV and co. deploy a similar formula now or is it up to DZ to “raise his game”?

    • The Suit says:

      He just has to raise his game. He’s had the teaching, he’s had the icetime, he’s been put in good positions to succeed. He has to put it altogether.

      • Centerman21 says:

        Do you think maybe AV should try a different lefty on the right side? Maybe Staal or Moore. To get little to no offense from Staal or Moore isn’t the end of the world. They’re both good defensive defenseman. To get nothing from your only so called offensive defenseman is a killer. I think that is what this team needs more than anything. DZ made a nice pass up the boards and hit Hagelin who scored. Quick strike. I feel Staal could handle the right side best.

        • The Suit says:

          I don’t know. You would have figured between the past regime and the current they would have tried that by now, but clearly these coaches must being seeing something to avoid going that route.

          • Centerman21 says:

            This current coaching staff maybe under orders from management have been real patient with DZ. Like you noted in your post here, he’s getting sheltered mins and a good chunk of them are starting in the offensive zone. AV obviously spreads out the mins among all 6 defenseman more than Torts did. In noting all that, maybe he gets it at some point this season. I think AV needs to take him off the PP indefinitely. Not to punish him but to relieve the pressure a bit and let him come around at even strength. AV stresses a good mix of righties and lefties on the PP so use Strahlman at least.

  2. RocketRoy says:

    This team now has a premier coach in Vigneault, but the thing we have lacked for the last (5) years, is a couple of sure shot NHL goal snipers, so I propose, since Edmonton is needing a top goalie, send them Lundquist and Zuccarello & Del Zotto for those (3) young players, Yakupv, Hall & Nugent-Hopkins & 1 prospect, and we go with Talbot.

  3. Mikeyyy says:

    I would trade mdz for a crease clearer.

  4. Gary says:

    Agree, sit w/ MDZ until McIlrath is ready. He’s a RH shot. If that means holding MDZ through this season, so be it. No need to make a panic move when the return will be at its lowest.

    The D as a whole is fine. When Nash comes back maybe we can get an end to these Yakupov type rumors.

    • WilliamW says:

      Replacing DZ with McIlrath at the end of the year means Stralman and Girardi will need to be given big raises / extensions

      There are a number of forwards who ae UFA this summer as well it will be interesting to see how the $ is spread around. DZ provides some element of cost control that may be needed

      • The Suit says:

        I like this plan, but I wonder what the ceiling for McIlrath really is.

        • Gary says:

          IMO 2nd pair eventually, at best. Understand limits, play w/in them and thump people. Play with a mean streak. Probably needs more filling physically and even more so in his game. But they drafted him for a reason and I think it’s a good one.

        • Furls says:

          Man. Was he awful this preseason.

        • WilliamW says:

          That’s the big question. Right now Girardi is the only real option for the 1RD spot and his contract will reflect that this summer. Depending on what DZ wants as an RFA, McIlrath or Allen could be money saving options as in the bottom pair

  5. SalMerc says:

    I think you need to explore the market for MDZ, as moving him would create some cap breathing room, if Slats has something else in mind. I doubt you get anyone with the “potential” MDZ has, but the longer he has potential, the less real value he brings to the ice.

  6. Evan M says:

    Anytime that “Larry Brooks reported,” I tend to tune out. I agree with your article, and like the allusion to Dubi at the end.

  7. AD says:

    At the end of my analyses of MDZ, what tips my view to trade him is this: some young players are just unable to develop to where they need to be, professionally, in the environment of New York City. It is a completely subjective view on my part but there are unique challenges to playing in Manhattan. I do not believe MDZ will cross that inflection point, mentally, that will raise his performance level to where it needs to be to justify a role on this team.

    As a pending RFA, it will be very difficult to sign him at a contract Sather deems fair value, so I do not think time is on our side. Further, the Rangers have reason to believe Aaron Johnson or Justin Falk can replace MDZ, defensively, and that by end of season McIlrath may be ready as well.

    The Rangers may regret it down the road, however, MDZ has had very good coaching during his career to where he should be better developed; I’d work to trade him.

    • Centerman21 says:

      I agree with you. He has had a ton of good coaching and has even had some success in the NHL as a NY Ranger. IMO it’s mostly in his head and a change of scenery would help him out emensly. Maybe not the Rangers but you aren’t getting top dollar for him now at this point. Any trade involving him will no doubt end up being a loss for the Rangers. A new city for him and he could just take off. He has become the whipping boy in NY and maybe that is in his head when the puck comes his way at this point.
      If he continues this way throughout the season, I can’t see him even asking for a raise on his next contract. Maybe he’ll be a little more open minded for this contract.

  8. Mr. Snrub says:

    DZ is lucky he’s an RFA still. If he was a UFA, I feel like he’d be gone already.

  9. Frank Cerbone says:

    MDZ did real fine working the left side with Girardi as his partner one year, Stralman the other year. Neither Moore nor Staal can play the right side, MDZ gets nominated.

    I said a couple of times in the past why not a MDZ/McDonough pairing?

    Guess what in last nite’s game MDZ was paired with McDonough on a number of shifts,later with Staal as well. It’s too bad MDZ’s career is being
    held back by playing out of position.

    Still after all is said and done, MDZ at 23 leads Staal at 26 in almost every category.

    Wonder what would happen if Staal was moved to the right side?

  10. Mikeyyy says:

    John Moore and Anton Stralman have surpassed mdz on the depth chart.

    The only reason he is still here is because mcilrath is not ready and Faulk is not good enough.

  11. Walt says:


    To your last question, when then will MDZ be ready to be traded?

    This is the last year under this contract, and this kid thinks that he is worth more. Will he hold out again? Will he prove himself worthy of another contract with this team? I say NO, and given a chance to get some scoring deapth, I’d make the move, and use either Stralhman, or J Moore on the PP, instead of MDZ. We have enough kids in the system who could do what he is doing, which is nothing worth a darn.

    I didn’t realize how many chances he was given by both Torts, and AV! The kid is way over rated, and doesn’t show any signs of improvement now, or down the road. The last point I want to make, all those shot from the point on the PP, and not scoring, WTF????

    • The Suit says:

      Not sure. Problem is we really don’t know what we have as far as offensive d-men in the system.

      Mac has skating issues and doesn’t project to be a QB. Connor Allen is still a bit of an unknown as he just graduated college. Skjei is a sophmore in college and is likely years away, if he makes it at all.

  12. Easyguy says:

    Haha delzottos play in his own zone has gotten worse which is why he struggles offensively. He’s terrible trade him as fast as you can

  13. TxRanger says:

    I’d trade him for Yakupov and call it a day.

  14. VinceR says:

    The issue is Edmonton wouldn’t call it a day at that point. It would cost a lot more than just MDZ.

  15. Bloomer says:

    I am all for a trade if its a good trade. The whole team had a crappy training camp, pre-season and start of the season. Not sure why MDZ is being singled out as I thought his play has improved as of late.

    If a trade has to be done then I think it would have to be one that would put the team in a position to sign their free agents next year. The way Brad Richards is playing, I think the team may reconsider buying him out. Time will tell I suppose. And please no Yakupov.

  16. JCA says:

    I don’t see the Rangers getting anything back for DelZotto that will be an upgrade come playoff time.
    Nashville could be a natural trade partner, since they have 4 RDs and have been playing Seth Jones on the left side. Ryan Ellis seems like a pretty similar story to DelZotto; a first rounder who was drafted for offense and doesn’t seem to be panning out. He’s little (5’10” / 175lbs) and I admit that I haven’t seen him play, but his zero is the best +/- on the Preds and expectations won’t be that high if he’s being compared to DelZotto. Could be a good one for one, change of scene type trade.
    Another player they might target is David Rundblad in Phoenix. He’s young, he can play the right side and he’s been a healthy scratch in several games this season so he might be available.

  17. FrankCerbone says:

    Love these posts!

    Let MDZ go, our 2 right handed defensemen Girardi & Stralman are UFA, let them go.

    Moore has never had a PP point since he joined the Rangers last season.

    If MDZ gets an offer from another team next season & the team promise to put him back on the left side, color MDZ gone.

    Does anybody follow hockey longer since this morning here?

    • Evan M says:

      I got it! You’re actually one of the writers here trying to get the readers to make sense and back up their thoughts… also to point out the ludicrous nature of some posters here. Well done, BSB.

  18. Mark says:

    I still like the player, there is skill there. Both he and Staal though need to learn how to hit the net with their shots. They repeatedly waste opportunities by shooting wide and they get enough ice time to get some opportunities. I think Staal has more value in a trade but then again he has more value to the Rangers too. I am not holding my breadth on McILrath, as much as they need this type of player. If he cannot keep up he will prove useless as a defenseman.

  19. Frank Cerbone says:

    Sam Gagner has one point this season & Yakupov has 2 goals and is a -14.

    What do you think- MDZ, Miller, a #1 draft choice
    for either one of them.

    If yes, then you are definitely a few cards short of a full deck, a couple of French fries short of a happy meal, & your elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top!

  20. Al says:

    There’s report that Sather and Low and MacT were back in talks tonight . Yakupov ok with being traded said agent

  21. Chris F says:

    The team has won 6 of 7 games, this is not the time to shake anything up.

    Not sure why suddenly everyone is so anxious to give up on a young, homegrown defenseman who has had high levels of success already with this organization. He is simply too young for anyone to panic over inconsistency, and too skilled to give up on over a bad slump. MDZ is a great skater, a tough and physical player, who we know can see the ice extremely well, despite his recently poor decision making.

    Kid has way too much upside for anyone to be OK with taking a loss over him in an imbalanced trade. There is only one player that has been dressing consistently that would be someone with no reason to keep, that is Pyatt, and he has no trade value.

    Team defense has been overall solid and consistent of late, goaltending has been steady as could be asked for, the PP has been clicking, and by God these boys are scoring goals. And Nash isn’t even back yet.

    Remind me why anyone in their right mind would make a trade with as much potential lockerroom impact as dealing MDZ at this juncture?

    • AD says:

      MDZ a great skater? I’ve heard that term applied to McDonagh and Moore, but this is the first for me to hear it applied to Del Zotto.

      Potential locker room impact? I’ve never had the impression Del Zotto is looked upon by his teammates as a leader on this team.

      It is very simple: there are valid reasons to believe Del Zotto will not progress further than were he is currently performing at. 4 power play goals the past 255 games? Wow, think about that and let it sink in for a moment. This is our supposed top offensive defenseman. His minutes are dictated by his offensive skills, not his defensive skills.

      At a minimum, trading him would be the natural thought of a person in their right mind. At a minimum.

      • VinceR says:

        While AD has some valid points, I do have to say I don’t see them trading MDZ and making this team better. I don’t see a trade partner who will give something of value for MDZ without making NYR give up an important piece.

        EDM is not going to give Yak straight up for MDZ, they are going to want a top prospect or an established player, and I don’t see a question mark like Yak improving this team, especially not to a point that you can make up for a top 6 d man and a top prospect/established player.

        This team has been scoring well enough lately and we are still missing our most talented forward. While I don’t think MDZ is untouchable (although I do hold a glimmer of hope he can finally get over whatever hurdle is holding him from breaking out completely), I do not see any transaction that will get us something of value without greatly turning this team upside down.

        • AD says:

          I should have added that I think we need to give all of our defenseman through December to make any final adjustments needed. It is a new system and a new coach, and the club had a poor pre-season from a training standpoint. Hank also helped make our d-men look very bad the first 6 games or so of the season as well. More adjustment time would be fair yet time should be running short for MDZ.

    • Walt says:

      Meaning no disrespect, but a great skater????

      I don’t know who you are talking about when he is included in that catagory. Are you sure you are not due for an eye exam? Really, he skates one notch better than Pyatt!! Maybe I’m due for that exam?????

    • Mark says:

      He is a pretty decent skater and he does not miss too many games and he does not shy away from contact. But he is not tough in these sense of a “tough” defenseman. When i think of tough i think of bigger more physical defensemen (like Beck, Daneyko, Stevens, Chara,). Even Moore seems to play it a bit tougher. Having said that i would not give up on him at all unless you can get a sniper in a package deal. He has been a starting Dman on a team that has generally won over the past several years.

      • Walt says:

        He started out of necessity, we had no one else at the time. Look, MDZ is tops a sixth pair type of player. Even Johnny Moore is ahead of him in the deapth chart. Someone else made this point on this post, 4 PP goals on the over the last 250 games or so. You call him a sniper?? I think not!

      • Walt says:

        Go to the Fox Sports web page, today 11-13-13, they have an article of potential trades, with MDZ being listed. The article also states that MDZ raised the ire of Slats the last time around when they signed his current contract. To all my naysayers, please read that bit, I didn’t make up the idea that Slats was pissed off, and there it is again in print!!

  22. Doug says:

    Del Zotto needs to be traded, he gives the puck up more than any defenseman by far, and his offensive skills do not make up for his bonehead defensive plays.

  23. Lou says:

    Wow. It seems that I have been watching a different sports channel than some of you.

    -MDZ is not a good skater – not smooth/not fast.
    -MDZ is not a good offensive talent – his claim to fame is the stretch pass that he rarely connects.
    -MDZ is not a shot blocker – leave that to the real men.
    -MDZ is not a force clearing people out — an aspect sorely missing from the Rangers.
    -And, MDZ does not impose his will or scare any opposition player.

    Then add the fact that he is playing the wrong side, has lingering effects of playing under Torts, and has high expectations — it is a no win scenario.

    MDZ HAS TO GO !!! Trade with a team that is losing a lot of games, in need of changes themselves and has a piece that we need in return and the only logical conclusion is Winnepeg / Byfluien.

    MDZ plus Fast for Byfluien.

    We get a nasty payer, with an excellent shot, that is tough to play against, with offensive skills AND, oh by the way can also stand in front of the crease!!