Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
As the dust settles after the trade of Michael Del Zotto, there were a lot of thoughts that ran through my head. There was a lot to process in this trade, and now that it’s been a day since the trade, I find myself thinking a little more level-headed.
First and foremost, this is a trade that confirms the Rangers are in win-now mode. If the Henrik Lundqvist extension wasn’t evidence enough, then this is. Del Zotto is a 23-year-old defenseman with a pair of 40 point (pace) seasons under his belt and what seems to be great potential. Klein is a 29-year-old defenseman who plays an incredibly physical game, but has also peaked. This is a trade that sacrifices potential long-term success (MDZ) for short-term needs (Klein).
Speaking of those short-term needs, Klein kills two birds with one stone. We had been wondering where the physicality and toughness on the blue line would come from, and Klein is just that. He is a rugged (6’1, 200 lbs) defensive defenseman that plays very disciplined hockey (21 PIMs) while dishing out punishment. He’s the guy that dropped Derek Dorsett at MSG when Nashville came to town. Slats compared him to Mike Sauer, and although I haven’t seen much of Klein, the comparison is pretty accurate.
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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.
After Tuesday’s disappointing and above all unnecessary loss to the Lightning, the Rangers take on Detroit tonight. Absolutely there for the taking, the Rangers need to avoid a let down game against the Wings who are depleted and not what they were a couple years back. Let’s hit the musings for the first time in a while shall we?
Careful what you wish for: For all the moaning and concerns about the Rangers start to the year, consider the state of the Wings franchise right now. A squad with a few core aging players (think Alfredsson, Kronwall, Bertuzzi, Samuelsson and Cleary) and not a huge amount coming through their system (relatively speaking, of course). The Rangers on the other hand are younger, with a pipeline that while not chock full of talent is far from empty. The Rangers could be in a lot worse shape compared to many teams in the league.
Just when you thought he’d turned a page, Michael Del Zotto has a major lapse in the Tampa loss. That’s why he is so frustrating; for all the good, there is always some bad just around the corner.
The Rangers MVP after the halfway mark? Ryan McDonagh. Undoubtedly without McDonagh, the defense – which has been in a state of flux all year anyway – would have been in big trouble. His offense is also developing quickly.
Talking contracts: How much can Ryan – I can’t stay healthy – Callahan really command and get come contract time? Is it possible that he demands more than the Rangers can offer?
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If Del Zotto finds form, can the Rangers afford to let him go?
With Michael Del Zotto back in the line-up consistently and finally cobbling together some consistent form the likely trade suitors will increase as Del Zotto starts to rack up the assists (3 in his last 4 games). Of course, with Del Zotto improving in recent weeks (as has most of the roster) the Rangers stand to benefit. Here’s the dilemma: if Del Zotto is playing well, it might make him more attractive to other teams but all of a sudden the Rangers can’t afford to deal him.
In theory, Del Zotto should thrive in Alain Vigneault’s system. It’s been his decision making that has let him down. Vigneault encourages defenseman to step up into the play, play aggressively and try and keep plays alive in the offensive zone. All those theories fit with Del Zotto’s skill set. When Del Zotto is playing well he is still a unique player on this roster.
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A few media outlets (Ottawa Sun – Bruce Garrioch, Per Fourth Period, CBS Sports – Chris Peters, CBC – Elliotte Friedman) are noting that the Rangers are listening to offers on defenseman Dan Girardi. We generally dismiss rumors from Garrioch and TFP because they tend to report speculation instead of true rumors (not the case 100%, but we don’t find them to be as reliable as others). But Peters and Friedman are not in the rumormongering business.
Girardi was initially linked to Boston, but this is the first time we’ve seen him linked to Anaheim. TFP specifically mentioned players the Rangers are looking at as well (Sami Vatanen, Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon, Rickard Rickell). The rumored asking price for Girardi is close to the Marian Hossa asking price: two NHL ready prospects, a good prospect, and a pick. He could very well fetch that.
Friedman also mentions Michael Del Zotto, and that the Sharks could be a “stealth” team to land him.
The steadiest of the steady (Elsa/Getty Images)
Suit kicked off our annual midseason grades yesterday with his review of Alain Vigneault and the coaching staff. As Suit mentioned in his preamble, we all hand out ‘performance grades’ around the mid-way point of the regular season and just after the commencement of the playoffs. As always, these grades aren’t just based on stats, but also the execution of each personnel or player’s respective role within the organization.
We do not take these grades lightly. Each grade is very well thought out. For the defense, I graded based on two areas: on-ice performance based on role on team, stats (both traditional and #fancy) based on role. It’s important to note that I stressed role on the team. This means that a player like Dan Girardi will be graded based on his role as a shutdown performer, and Michael Del Zotto on his offensive contributions.
A quick note about the numbers being used: Goals-Assists-Points, Corsi, OZone starts, Quality of Competition faced. Details here.
Ryan McDonagh (6-17-23, 51.3% Corsi, 47.4% OZ starts, 29.6% ToTm QoC)
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Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America
A lot of noise has been made over the past 12 hours about Glenn Healy’s comments on Hockey Night in Canada last night. For those who missed it, Healy said the following:
If the Rangers trade (Del Zotto) it will be a D for a D because of the Stralman situation but look for the Boston Bruins to call the Rangers about Dan Girardi. That is going to happen because that is a good player and there is no deal done. He isn’t for a whole host of a ransom but it still isn’t done. If they can get a lot back they will make that move.
This is just Healy spitballing, in my opinion, and isn’t really something that would happen. With Anton Stralman out, Girardi is the Rangers last right handed shot on the blue line. Throw in the Marc Staal injury, the uncertain future of Michael Del Zotto, and the inconsistent play of John Moore and Justin Falk, the Rangers can’t afford to deal one of two guys they can count on for defense. Despite his struggles, Girardi is still a top-four defenseman, and dealing him in the current situation –to a conference rival no less– isn’t something that I see the team doing unless the return is unreal.
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Franson could be NY bound (Photo: Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
Welcome to Thursday. It’s finally time for another Musings (not that fake musings Dave did yesterday. What a bum). The Rangers have been better the past couple games without being very good. With plenty to muse over, let’s do it for the final time before the festive season kicks in.
As you’ll have seen; rumours are abound that the Leafs are considering Michael Del Zotto and Cody Franson may come the other way. From the Leafs perspective it doesn’t make sense. You’re essentially swapping one expiring contract for the other but giving up a bigger more productive player who’s better on his feet without being a great defenseman. Seems like a lot of trust in Del Zotto’s ability to turn the corner in his career.
Rick Nash. Oh, Rick Nash where art thou? He was invisible in the Penguins game – a game where I had previously said he needed to make a statement. It’s as simple as this: the Rangers cannot be successful long term unless Nash and Henrik Lundqvist are on or near the top of their games. Right now neither is close, hence the current position in the standings.
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A lot has been made about the coach’s apparent decision to sit Dylan McIlrath tonight against the Penguins. I understand both sides of the argument. If the kid is up in the NHL, he should play. But the kid has some glaring holes in his game, and putting him up against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Crosby’s isn’t exactly the best matchup for someone who has trouble skating. Then again, neither is Justin Falk.
My thought on this: If the kid isn’t going to play 8-10 minutes a night, then send him back to the AHL. AV is a fan of having kids sit in the press box to get a bird’s-eye view of the system he runs, but McIlrath has less than 100 pro games under his belt. He needs to develop the raw parts of his game in the AHL with top minutes. If he is going to play 8-10 minutes a night, then keep him here, because Falk sure isn’t getting the job done.
One more bit on McIlrath: He is far from NHL ready. I understand the need for a bruiser and a right-handed shot, but the kid has a few glaring holes that need to be fixed by Jeff Beukeboom in Hartford. The kid has made tremendous strides this year after a gruesome knee injury ruined last season. I’m big on this kid, but rushing him to fit a need doesn’t help in the long-term.
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Photo: Bruce Bennet/Gerry Images
In case you missed it, new Michael Del Zotto trade rumors surfaced recently. Apparently the Colorado Avalanche are interested in the defenseman, per Bruce Garrioch (I know…). Del Zotto has also been tied to Toronto and Edmonton. Suffice it to say, Del Zotto has been tied to all 29 teams in the NHL. Pretty impressive.
The Rangers have been pretty steadfast in their approach to trading the former first round pick, they want a right handed defenseman in return for Del Zotto. Garrioch noted that the Avs aren’t going to send the Rangers a defenseman, so that one is pretty dead in the water. While that may eliminate the Avs for the time being, it doesn’t mean the MDZ rumors are at an end.
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