One of the first things the New York Rangers did when the lockout ended was sign young defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a two-year contract extension. With two goals and six points through the team’s first six games, Del Zotto is already showing them that he deserved his new deal.
After spending the 2009-10 season with the Rangers and scoring nine goals while posting 37 points, he split time between the AHL Connecticut Whale and the Rangers the following season. He showed last season that he is one of the best young offensive defensemen in the league, scoring 10 goals and adding 31 assists. Paired with Marc Staal this season, he appears ready to cement his position as the top defenseman in the Big Apple. For comparison, only Marian Gaborik has more points for the team so far this season, with eight, while Brad Richards and Rick Nash each have six points. Del Zotto has a plus-5 rating so far, while contuing to showcase his skills on the power play and staying out of the penalty box.
Del Zotto played in Switzerland for Rapperswil-Jona during the lockout and put up 10 points in nine games. His teammates there included the Ottawa Senators’ Jason Spezza and former NHL goaltender David Aebischer. With Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Stu Bickel and Anton Stralman also in the fold, the Rangers don’t have a single defenseman older than 28, and a lot of talent on the blue line as they chase the Stanley Cup the next few seasons.