New York Rangers: Michael Del Zotto is on the trade block

Michael Del Zotto, New York Rangers

New York Rangers defenceman Michael Del Zotto. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Various reports circulating in the hockey media suggest New York Rangers defenceman Michael Del Zotto is on the trade block as he struggles to fit in with head coach Alain Vigneault. The former first round pick in 2008 has spent the last three games watching from the sidelines as a healthy scratch.

According to CBS Sports Eye On Hockey, five or six NHL clubs have expressed interest in the services of Michael Del Zotto. The Ottawa Senators are rumoured to be one of the teams with a desire to acquire the Rangers puck-mover.

On TSN‘s Tuesday night panel Pierre LeBrun reported that the Sens are looking for a puck moving defenceman to add another waive of mobility on a back-end that is otherwise lacking in offensive capability beyond Erik KarlssonCourtesy of CBS Sports Eye On Hockey. Read full article here

NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk dabbled in the Del Zotto trade story, as well, citing the Senators as an interested buyer, still struggling to find a replacement for the offseason loss of smooth puck-moving defenceman Sergei GoncharCourtesy of NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk. Read full update here

Perhaps the Rangers should keep Michael Del Zotto around. Since sitting out three straight games the Blueshirts (1-2-0), scoring only 3 total goals in that span. While the offensive defenceman has not been producing on the scoresheet this season, he does provide a quick first pass and ability to effectively straddle the blueline on the power play.

The last time the NHL played an 82 game schedule the Ranger defenceman accumulated 41 points in 77 games. He is well off repeating the pace he set in 2011-12. Del Zotto has 4 points in 16 contests this season.

Michael Del Zotto expressed his frustration with being healthy scratched for three straight games in conversation with Long Island Newsday:

“It’s something you never want. You always work so hard to play and you always want to be playing. And that’s what I’ve done my whole life.”

Quote courtesy of Newsday. Read full article here.

It’s hard to make a trade in the NHL. The salary cap is unworkably low this season, and GM’s are generally patient, calculated professionals who don’t panic or lose sight of what’s better long-term because a player is struggling.

The Michael Del Zotto rumours are interesting because they come from various credible sources, thus, perhaps they are truthful and a trade is imminent, or inevitable this season. However, don’t be surprised if Del Zotto doesn’t get traded. Vigneault may just be trying to light a fire within a young offensive defenceman who is struggling to find consistency.

As for Del Zotto’s ultimate ceiling; how good will he be in his prime?