Michael Del Zotto is a player that drives fans of the New York Rangers crazy. He can go from being a player who looks like a future top 10 defenseman in the league to looking like a player that should be sent to the minors immediately.
This being said, Del Zotto is an important part to the Rangers franchise. He is one of their top four defenseman no matter how you put it. His skating ability would make him the best skater on many other teams. Unfortunately for him he can’t be the best skater on the Rangers because Ryan McDonagh holds that title. Nonetheless, Del Zotto has gotten better over the last two seasons since being shipped down to the AHL in his sophomore campaign. It is clear that he held back his offensive ability for former coach John Tortorella. Tortorella wants his defenseman to stay at home and not rush the puck or take many risks. This became apparent on the power play as well where Del Zotto would look hesitant to rush the puck up the ice. With Alain Vigneault being an offensive minded coach you might see Del Zotto revert back the player who looked like the second coming of Brian Leetch when he was a rookie.
Del Zotto put up modest numbers this season with the Rangers. He played in 46 games while recording three goals and 18 assists for a grand total of 21 points. He was the leading scorer among Rangers defenseman, but the playoffs were a different story. He only had one goal and one assist in 12 playoff games. During the Rangers’ first round series he was demoted to the third defense pairing, and in the second round he was getting abused by a physical Boston Bruins‘ team.
If Marc Staal is healthy and ready to play next season, I try to trade Del Zotto if I’m the Rangers. I think he has tremendous value as a defenseman who is entering his fifth season in the NHL as only a 23 year old. The Rangers already have a steady defensive corps, and John Moore is looking more and more like a player who could fill Del Zotto’s role as an offensive defenseman. The Rangers could probably get a second line forward for Del Zotto if they trade him at the right time.
Either way Del Zotto is expected to help the Rangers for a long time. If he continues to develop he can become a top defenseman in the league.