Why the Rangers should consider moving Michael Del Zotto

November 21, 2013, by
Del Zotto has fallen on hard times in New York

Del Zotto has fallen on hard times in New York

For anyone that watches NHL Tonight, this week you’ll have seen Darren Dreger discuss the Rangers apparently having had contact with ‘five or six teams’ interested in acquiring Michael Del Zotto. The moment Del Zotto’s regression offensively caught up with Alain Vigneault’s lack of trust in his defensive game, this kind of rumour always surfaces.  For those of you not in the know regarding Dreger, he’s not the kind of guy who recklessly gossips so there are legs to this story.

The Rangers should definitely explore trading Del Zotto. The Rangers need help offensively and/or they need more physicality on the blue line. Trading Del Zotto could help the Rangers tend to one of their needs as despite Del Zotto not having a good season so far, his previous offensive production, his relative youth, his affordable contract situation and his draft pedigree all combine to make him a very moveable asset.

Whether the Rangers decide to move Del Zotto will likely depend on the return, but if they are to move Del Zotto the time is now. The modern day NHL requires asset management and right now Del Zotto is a declining asset. With his recent trips to the press box and with just four points on the season, Del Zotto appears to be regressing. His importance to the Rangers has also diminished as John Moore slowly but steadily develops. Include Ryan McDonagh’s offensive progression, and he could become a Norris-worthy defensman. In short, Del Zotto’s time in New York could be running out.

With his contract up for renewal and without significant ice time, Del Zotto himself would possibly welcome a change. Given the possible mutual desire for change, the Rangers may not want to keep the player beyond this year. Given his current performance levels and expiring contract, the Rangers should strike quickly if they intend to at all.

Del Zotto is still a very talented player, a skilled defenseman who has proven he can generate offense at the NHL level. He is still young with legitimate upside, so it would be foolish of the Rangers to move him for the sake of change. But if the Rangers feel he no longer has a long term future in NYC and they can get quality in return (whether it be draft picks, prospects or NHL bodies), they should consider it.

Despite his flaws, Glen Sather’s strengths include his ability to outfox countless general managers at the trade table. Ryan McDonagh’s role as a key Ranger is exhibit A to that effect. Could Del Zotto net a similar return? If Scott Gomez can net a player such as McDonagh don’t rule anything out.


  1. craig says:

    Hurry up and offer MDZ to the Canadians and maybe we get a 50 goal scorer!
    Osta La Vista!

    • Chris F says:

      Yes, because Montreal is scoring goals in droves this season, right?

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Chris and co,

        What are you thoughts on this proposal (realistic return, over/under payment)?

        Michael Del Zotto to ANA
        Emerson Etem to NYR

        I know with Fowler in the Ducks line up, Del Z would be somewhat duplicitive, however it’s not like they don’t need the depth on their blueline.

        As far as Etem, we would get another very fast winger (Hagelin, Kreider) to help us on the fore-check. 29th pick overall in the 2010 Entry Draft. He isn’t the goal scorer that everyone around here is clamoring for, but let’s be real, Del Zotto alone won’t get us an established 30 goal scorer.

        • Dave says:

          Doesn’t address either team’s needs. Rangers need right handed shots, Ducks don’t need another guy like Fowler.

          Also, Ducks would need to add. MDZ is an established top-four defenseman (only third pairing here bc of McD/Staal). Etem is a question mark.

          • Chris F says:

            I don’t think Etem really addresses the Rangers’ needs at this point.

            It seems the general consensus is the Rangers are in need of either:

            1) A RH defenseman who can move the puck well (possibly QB the PP, also, though not a absolute requirement);

            2) A very physical defenseman who can clear the crease;

            3) An established forward who can add scoring depth.

            Etem would have to address that third need, and I’m not sure he fits the bill.

            To be honest, the only Ducks player I’d be interested in is Silverberg. And, I’m, not sure MDZ could net that return.

            • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

              Rangers would trade MDZ in a heartbeat for Silfverberg. Ducks won’t, he was the big piece in the Bobby Ryan deal.

              Pipe dream.

              • Chris F says:

                Yea, I know that MDZ isn’t enough. Just saying that from Anaheim’s roster Silverberg is the only guy I’d be interested in keying in on.

      • Craig says:

        I was being sarcastic being we made out like bandits with McDonough and Kisto. Lighten up man…

  2. Todd says:

    I guess Falk’s three games was an audition to see if he could take Del Zotto’s place.
    If Sather could find a quality power forward who could score 15 – 20 goals I say pull the trigger.

    Falk will be a good stop gap until one of the kids in Hartford can step up.

  3. Walt says:

    AMF MDZ!!!!!

    There comes a time when a change of scene does one good. Time has come for Mike to go, while we can get something for him, other than a pail of pucks.

    He is back in the line up this trip, let’s see if he playes well, or just goes thru the motions. If he doesn’t perform, get him out of here, because he is stinking up the place. I have posted in the past that maybe he needs to grow up, that there may be distractions here under the bright lights, and night life. For his sake, and the team’s, I hope he performs, or else ship him off to the Oilers, where there is no bright light, night life, or anything else but hockey!!

    • AD says:

      Maturity has been an issue throughout Del Zotto’s career as a Ranger; it is why he spent his second season in the minors, and we all saw how good & effective he can be when he returned mentally focused on playing hockey his third season.

      The difficulties for young athletes playing professional hockey in Manhattan shouldn’t be underestimated; I believe it is one reason Dubinsky never reached his potential on a consistent basis, for example.

      If the Rangers have reason to suspect this is the case with Del Zotto, then, unfortunately, it would be best for all to trade him.

  4. SalMerc says:

    He needs to play in a few games and show some value to get a good ROI. He still can be a top 4 defenseman on many clubs. Doubt he nets us a scorer to break our drought though. Package him and Boyle!

    • rangerinexile says:

      Why package Boyle? Boyle has been easily one of our most consistent, positive players all season. This knee-jerk hatred of a useful player for not being a 20g scorer is one of the worst aspects of Ranger fandom.

      This isn’t to say that he’s untouchable, but he’s certainly not someone the team should be looking to ship out of town on a whim.

  5. RangerMom says:

    Well, if Sather wants to get anything for him, he should tell AV to stop trashing MDZ repeatedly in public. This “motivational tactic” is not good for business.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Not good for trade business, but possibly good for motivational business.

      MDZ’s greatest value is to be playing well with the Rangers.

      • RangerMom says:

        Totally agree. I’m still hoping he can turn it around. But it’s enough of a message to sit him for 3 games — AV doesn’t need to go on and on about it in the media. This is a pattern with him that is not good, long term, for the team.

  6. Gary says:

    Rangers get rid of Boyle and IMO it’d be noticed almost immediately. I don’t know why so many people can’t stand him. He is a lane clogger and an annoyance to play against. Keep him, esp. since the return would not be anything great.

    Separately, those in Boston like me would have laughed to hear the typically homerish (a proud tradition here in Beantown, with Cusick, Sanderson and on down the line to Jack [the honk] Edwards) Boston announcer Jack Edwards $hit all over Boyle and Marc Staal. First he implies Boyle starts trouble and won’t drop ’em and he called Staal “Mr. Face Shield” as he defended himself from some Chara goonery to his face.

    I swear part of the reason I never liked the Bruins growing up is their announcers.

  7. SalMerc says:

    Some talk about MDZ to Ottawa for Milan Michalek

  8. Gary says:

    As for MDZ, I’d welcome a trade if we can get value. Value could mean a heart and soul 3rd line winger (one of those guys that always makes noise in the PO’s) or a stout and physical D.

  9. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Alot of talk here about the Rangers need for righties due to their abundance of left handed shooters. While I don’t disagree, isn’t it bad practice to use shot handedness as a prerequisite?

    Like Chris said in the article, it’s all about asset management. Given the choice, I’d rather have the better asset, with more trade value than a lesser asset who shoots right.

    Any merit here?

  10. paulronty says:

    Trade Del Zotto for the guy they should have drafted instead of MDZ(Gordie Clark’s only serious mistake)—-Jordan Eberle.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      How would you make cap space for Eberle’s $6M hit?

      That’s a big gap to make up for MDZ’s $2.5M hit.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Unfortunately, not a realistic return for Del Z…

  11. BenM says:

    Is there any reason why, after struggling for so long, they haven’t considered putting him back on the left side and trying out someone else on the right side?

  12. Bloomer says:

    Unless its a great deal I would not trade MDZ. I agree with others here, he has problems on the right side and needs to play on the left side where he is a very good defenseman.
    If the reason for the trade is to get a right handed defenseman, I sooner move Marc Staal who has a bigger contract and will be more difficult to resign. Further, he would reap more in the trade market.

  13. Chris F says:

    This has nothing to do with MDZ, but if the Rangers are serious about acquiring a puck-moving RG defenseman, they should look at Michael Stone of the Coyotes.

    He’s 23 years old, right-handed 6′ 3″ 230 lbs. He also has 6 goals in 16 games this season.

  14. Mikeyyy says:

    Only if your smoking crack do you move dz over girardi.

    Kid has no fear and that’s what I like about him. Good luck finding that.

  15. Bayman says:

    I’m concerned about depth at D. If we trade MDZ and then suffer injuries, I’ll puke if I see another Roman Hamrlik-type D in the playoffs.

  16. George says:

    How about MDZ to Detroit for Tootoo and a 2nd round pick?

    • RangerSmurf says:

      Tootoo was on waivers ~a month ago. Why would you trade for him, let alone use your (arguably) most valuable trade piece to do so?

  17. Ray says:

    If the Rangers can resign MDZ for a reasonable price, we not keep him INSTEAD of Moore. They are the same age, so it’s silly to compare the present MDZ with the future Moore. MDZ is better on the left and better on the right than Moore. He just isn’t better on the right than Moore is on the left.

    • Gary says:

      I think Moore is a year behind in age and draft year. He’s much further behind in development though. I think his upside is a lot higher.

  18. Mikeyyy says:

    Rumor is mdz to ottowa for mikalek