Is This Michael Del Zotto's Final Day As A New York Rangers Player?

By Steven Carollo
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

According to various rumors, the New York Rangers‘ most inconsistent defenseman with a lot of potential upside, Michael Del Zotto, might get dealt sometime today or later this afternoon during the 2013 NHL Draft, which starts at 3P.M. EST.

Ever since Del Zotto’s rookie season with the team, he has been a work in progress. After having a great debut season in 2009-2010 by a defenseman’s standards with nine goals and 28 assists, Del Zotto spent a lot of time back in the minors as his game was not quite where it was a year before thanks to defensive lapses and bad giveaways.

In 2011-2012, Del Zotto had a major bounce back year for his best season to date, putting up 10 goals and 31 assists in 77 regular season games.  However, his game was not perfect by any standards, as he showed in the Eastern Conference Finals where the Rangers were eliminated in six games by the New Jersey Devils.

In that series, Del Zotto had many defensive lapses and horrible giveaways that led to Devils goals, and he did not provide the offense needed to get the Rangers over the hump.

This past season, 2012-2013, was almost like an even split between the last two years. Yes, it was only a 48-game shortened season with no training camp, but Del Zotto looked very good in some games, and looked like he could not defend a paper bag or get the puck in an empty net in others.

Del Zotto’s inconsistent play might have run its course with the New York Rangers front office. This is not to mention his over $2.5 million cap hit, which might not seem much when looking at players contracts in other sports, but might just be a little much for an inconsistent player in the salary cap world of the NHL.

Now, Del Zotto is only 23-years old and can still become the player he was projected to be, but with the Rangers right up against the cap and needing to free up space and with management’s questionable decision of not buying out Brad Richards, Del Zotto almost certainly looks like he is going to be the odd man out.

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