Rangers trade Michael Del Zotto to Nashville for Kevin Klein

January 22, 2014, by

Per Darren Dreger, the Rangers have traded defenseman Michael Del Zotto to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Kevin Klein, a 29-year-old right-handed defenseman, has a line of 1-2-3 in 47 games with the Preds. His peripherals aren’t spectacular (44% Corsi, -4.4% relative Corsi, 46.7% O/D St%, 28.0% ToTm%QoC) either.

Comparatively, MDZ had 2-9-11 in 42 games with better puck possession and much higher offensive zone starts (51.1% Corsi, -1.6% relative, 60.3% O/D St%, 27.8% ToTm%QoC). Klein is signed for four more years beyond this one at $2.9 milllion, while Del Zotto was set to be an RFA after the season ends.

Honestly, MDZ didn’t really get a fair shake in New York after his rough sophomore season and really needed a change of scenery. That said, the trade gives the Rangers a much-needed right handed shot on the third pairing to go with John Moore. MDZ was certainly a frustrating player to watch, and Klein will be a reliable –but unspectacular– third pairing guy.

According to Nashville bloggers section303.com, Klein was a huge part of the defense corps in Nashville and will be missed.

Suit’s Scouting Report on Klein:

I think Klein is a solid pickup. He kills penalties, blocks a lot of shots, and he isn’t afraid to mix it up. I think he brings some sorely needed grit to the bottom four pairings, and you all know what I thought about needing another right-handed shot.

Could Sather have gotten more for MDZ than a gritty stay-at-home guy? Maybe in another season, but his value has plummeted and ultimately we’re filling a big need. Think of this as an overdue replacement for Sauer and your expectations won’t be disappointed. Hopefully he’ll fit the system.

Categories : Trades


  1. Brian says:

    They’re getting Kevin Klein in return. Good move.

    • Centerman21 says:

      Yeah and I’m pretty sure Klein played on the same Guelph Storm team as Girardi & Callahan. I’m pretty sure all 3 played at the same time in OHL. I could be wrong but he and Girardi are about the same age.

      • Dave says:

        He did.

        • Centerman21 says:

          They did play together their right. So there’s some familiarity there huh. I was a big advocate for a right handed shot. Anywhere really. Klein is a solid D and should be a strong partner on that bottom pair. He can be the stay at home defense while Moore uses his skating to get up ice and pinch in the O zone.

  2. Andy says:

    Righty shot! Not bad. 

  3. supermaz says:

    Finally…about time. Admittedly I know nothing about klein, but I can’t watch del zotto anymore.

  4. Spozo says:

    I’m glad this is done. Now I don’t get to hear bitching every time MDZ looked at the puck the wrong way.

  5. Spozo says:

    I glad this is done. Now I don’t get to hear whining every time MDZ looked at the puck the wrong way.

    • Centerman21 says:

      Hey, he was playing better of late. He made his mistakes but so did Moore. We don’t get on him much because DZ is the whipping boy. Maybe Klein will be the stay at home guy while Moore is the aggressive offensive D. Moore is usually able to catch the play with his skating. In any event Sather settled a little here IMO. He took on a 4 year contract for an expiring RFA deal and I former 1st round draft pick. He should have gotten a late round draft pick too.

  6. Dave says:

    Unsure how I feel about it. Addressed a need (RHD) by dealing a surplus (MDZ/Moore are same player). Just don’t know enough about Klein.

    • Centerman21 says:

      Klein has 25 point potential. Maybe on a contender, the Rangers catch lightning in a bottle and he scores 12+ Points in the remaining 30 games. The Preds were treading water at best in a competitive Western Conference having little to no chance at a playoff birth. Now playing for a contender has a way of revitalizing a players career. LGR!!!!!

  7. The Suit says:

    Solid move. Klein brings some grit to the blueline. He is a big time shot blocker, PKer.  

    • Dave says:

      That’s good to know.

      I figured this was a deal to solidify that bottom pairing, which was a huge question mark.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Does this factor in to Girardi’s standing at all? From what I understand Klein is more a 5-6 Dman, not a top 2, however he is also a right shot, does start most shifts in the D zone, is a shot blocker, is gritty and perhaps could fill a shutdown role. Additionally he is signed for 4 more years. I know that we needed an additional RHD, regardless of Girardi resigning… but now we could fill the void a bit better should he not resign. Granted it will take more than Klein to accomplish that but does this provide any read at all on G’s future?

  8. AD says:

    There you go again, with another pot shot at Tortorella, stating Del Zotto did not get a fair chance after his sophomore season.  
    He had his best year of his career after his sophomore season.  Del Zotto’s role and  future with the Rangers was always dictated by none other than Del ZOtto himself.  He got more than a fair share to succeed here.

    • Dave says:

      Are you high? We were huge on Torts here. We loved him.

      The “never got a fair shake” was directed at the fans who booed him constantly.

      You’ve been here a while, you should know better.

  9. Seahorse says:

    i like moving Del Zotto i’m just surprised that’s all he was worth. i mean he is a robot that looks like he’s thinking on the ice vs instinctually playing and loves to throw wrist shots into forwards shin pads, but still hes young and has potential

  10. Erixon20 says:

    Check out his fight with Antoine Roussel…wow.  He adds grit/toughness and a RH shot, two things we needed badly.  Surprised this is an even-up trade though, as MDZ has a lot more upside.  Still, I think it’s a positive move as it addresses an urgent need.  Anyone know how his skating measures up? 

    • Spozo says:

      He was the guy who fought Dorsett earlier in the year. He layer out Boyle and Dorsett challenged him. He then beat the crap out of Dorsett.
      if he plays like that for us I think I’m gonna like this guy.

    • Walt says:

      Quick hands, should be fun to watch!!!!!

  11. Walt says:

    We get a right handed d-man, with a bit of grit, shut down guy, and let’s us keep J Moore on his natural side!!   It’s a win win deal.  Best part of all, he is signed for 4 years, @$2.9 mil, no chance of a potential hold out, and MDZ gets his change of scenery.  I wish Mike well, but I’m glad he’s gone.

  12. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Sounds like a good trade. We needed a tough dman with size,rh shot,can play real minutes and throw a couple rights when needed.

  13. Tiki Tim says:

    What good is the RH shot if the player isn’t any good offensively?

  14. Galen H says:

    Seems like a trade to make a trade.  Once management screwed this kid up, and MDZ followed it up with brain cramps, we were never going to get good value for him. 

    • pavel says:

      A “trade to make a trade” or “addition by subtraction”.  DZ was not going to play well knowing his days with the org were numbered.  I’ll take a low sell to rid ourselves of the distraction.  I wish DZ well, and hope the change of scenery does wonders for him

  15. Tiki Tim says:

    I hate that we traded away a young defenseman w top 4 potential for a peak third pair defenseman.  

    • pavel says:

      I look at this rather as “I hate that a young defenseman with a top 4 projection did not do more to develop his potential.”

      • Tiki Tim says:

        True, pavel, but he was only given half season under AV to change his game & from what I understand from other Rangers fans is that Del Zotto was forced to play off-hand most of the time.

    • Dave says:

      There’s still John Moore.

  16. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Fills a need, not sure the Ranger’s got enough for MDZ, however.  They sold on him really low.  $2.9M cap hit for a stay at home #6 seems a little steep too.
    I’ll reserve judgement until I see how he fits.

    • BT says:

      Remember everyone having similar feelings when Rangers traded Gaborik for Dorsett, Broussard and Moore.  Everyone thoguht it was a “trade to make a trade” and “throwing in the towel for the season”.  Meanwhile, after that trade, the Rangers went on a  nice run to end the season due largely in part to those guys.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Well that trade at the time brought in much needed depth and two players that had yet to hit their primes (Brassard and Moore). There’s no upside in this deal.
        I’m not willing to say a 6th defenseman will lead the charge to a long playoff run (in fairness, most likely neither was Del Zotto).
        But, I generally don’t like trades where all the upside and talent is going the other way.
        There is some cost certainty here with the Klein contract, which helps.

    • Ray says:

      A guy who plays nearly 19 minutes a game is not really a #6 defenseman. In principle, this is a good trade, a team with too many RH defensemen trading with a team with too many LH defensemen.

      • Chris F says:


        From what I hear Klein can easily challenge Stralman for that second pairing right side.

        The only reason he fell to third pairing on Nashville was because they have RH D Weber and Jones ahead of him. Rangers have no such luxury of RH D-men, so Klein very well may bump Stralman.

  17. Sully says:

    KlK, adds grit,good PK good skater blocks shoots
    Basically total opposite of MDZ,also moves Moore
    Back to the left side

  18. HARLEMBLUES says:

    MDZ isn’t a puck rushing dman. He’s not going end to end. The long pass out of his end or the pass when he’s set up in the Ozone is his game. J.Moore can rush the puck up. He needs to learn how to finish the rush by passing or shooting. MDZ never got stronger. Hell one can work out in the gym. Be stronger on the puck in your end. Wish him the best.

  19. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Let’s hope Klein become Stralman #2…He came to us cut by the Devils and preformed quite well for us. Klein I do know has a nasty edge which is an edge. We need that. I believe Moore will prosper from this move and if so then it makes it a win win because I think MDZ will now be able to relax and blossom….Big Question is what will happen to McIlrath and who will we pick in the 1st round. I am willing to bet it will be a right handed player preferably a winger or a defenseman. I am anxious to see Klein against the Devils.

  20. Chris A says:

    Jesus, Klein is signed through 2018. Not saying it’s a bad thing, I was just surprised when I saw it. His cap # is very manageable going forward.

    If he can be the new Michael Sauer, as Dave suggested, and slot in nicely as a 2nd/3rd pair D then the Rangers made a great trade. They go all in on J. Moore and give themselves flexibility when Girardi and Stralman hit Free Agency this summer. It also allows McIlrath to continue developing at his own pace in Hartford.

    Good luck in Nashville MDZ!

    • Fotiu is God says:

      Spot on, Chris.

      Mike Sauer’s brawn and looming presence have been sorely missed since being concussed. In what I’ve seen, Klein seems more mobile, and far quicker on his skates, especially turning, than Sauer.

      And as you mentioned, the move allows McIlrath/the organization some breathing space in the kid’s development. That’s key.

      I hate that we traded an Italian, MDZ.

      But our now lone paisan, Car-bomb, has truly energized our energy line. Between stops in Chicago and Los Angeles, Carcillo has seemingly learned some necessary self restraint. Here’s hoping AV and staff keep him in the lineup.

      Going forward, The Blueshirts are now a tougher team to play against.

  21. Rob says:

    MDZ is a shaky player for a reported solid player that is clearly willing to fight. (Crushed Dorsett). Rangers have a huge win in this deal PLUS managed to find a RH D-man that is signed until 2018.


    Clearly from the choice of #8, Klien is twice as good as MDZ.

  22. Monty says:

    I remeber when Sather said they had a deal to trade MDZ for Stamkos… times change 🙂

  23. Chuck A says:

    Sounds like with Klein & Carbomb trades the Rangers got a lot tougher

  24. Bloomer says:

    MDZ will flourish in Nashville.

  25. Chris F says:

    From ‘On the Forecheck,’ a look at how this deal looks from the Predators’ perspective:


  26. TxRanger says:

    never heard of klein, but thats not a bad thing with d-men