This topic came up during last night’s Blueshirt Banter Radio Show, and I want to get Ranger Nation’s opinion on the matter. It is worth breaking down Del Zotto’s season into three segments: the first month, the second month through the Olympic break, and post Olympic break. You will notice three distinct trends with his game.
- First Month (14 games): 4-8-12, +3, .857 P/GM, +.21/GM
- Second Month-Olympic Break (47 games): 2-12-14, -20, .298 P/GM, -.447/GM
- Post Olympics (19 games): 3-8-11, -3, .579 P/GM, -.158/GM
- Season Totals (80 games): 9-28-37, -20, .463 P/GM, -.25/GM
Without using any advanced metrics like GVT, GAON/60, or QUALCOMP, you can clearly see that the middle stretch took it’s toll on MDZ. Prior to this season, he had never played more than 64 games in a season. While 80 and 64 may not seem like a big difference, this was an Olympics season, and the games were much more condensed, with many back-to-backs and three-in-four nights. It appears that MDZ simply tired from the condensed schedule very early on, and did not recover until after the Olympic break, when he had two weeks off.
His offensive numbers aside, it was very clear that MDZ had great difficulty adjusting to the defensive responsibilities at the NHL level. He was consistently out of position, was caught pinching often, and after the first month, stopped shooting the puck. These are things you expect from a 19 year old, but the question remains, do you think he should have stayed in the OHL to make adjustments on the defensive side of the puck?