Skip to content

Vigneault: I was told Del Zotto is good, but I’m not seeing it

Nov 20, 2013, 1:20 PM EDT

VigneaultRangers Getty Images

If there were any doubts Michael Del Zotto was in the doghouse, his head coach erased them on Wednesday.

“I have been told he is a much better player,” Alain Vigneault said of Del Zotto, as per the Rangers’ Twitter account. “I have not seen that on a consistent enough basis.

“We’ll see how he responds.”

Del Zotto, who has been a healthy scratch in three straight games, will likely draw back into the lineup for Thursday’s game in Dallas, which could be a showcase more than anything else. Trade speculation has heated up around the 23-year-old rearguard, with reports surfacing on Tuesday night linking Del Zotto to Ottawa.

This development marks a pretty quick fall from grace for Del Zotto. Last season, he signed a two-year, $5.1 million extension and proceeded to score 21 points in 46 games, leading all Rangers defensemen in scoring.

Through 16 games this year, he has just four points and is averaging a career-low 18:28 TOI per game.

Worth noting that it’s not uncommon for Vigneault to put defensemen in his doghouse. He routinely banished Keith Ballard to the press box during his time in Vancouver and, prior to Ballard, often made Shane O’Brien a healthy scratch (though to be fair, Ballard was used sparingly because he didn’t fit the Canucks’ scheme; O’Brien’s issues often stemmed from a lack of fitness and maturity.)

Del Zotto hasn’t said much in response to being a healthy scratch but, following his third straight game in the press box, admitted the situation was getting to him.

“Frustration,” he told 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.”

UPDATE: We do read the comments section on PHT and appreciate feedback, and it appears some have taken issue with this headline. I genuinely don’t think it’s an issue but, since some do, here is the entire quote (courtesy the Bergen Record).

“I can only speak for what I’ve seen so far, and what I’ve seen so far on our team as far as our defensive corps is playing, is he’s fighting for one of the regular six spots,” Vigneault said. “A player like Michael has to play to his strengths. I’ve been told his strengths are his ability to beat the forecheck, join the rush, help out on the power play and get shots through. I have not seen that on a consistent enough basis for him to be able to say he’s going to be in the lineup every night. Some other Ds can have an off night, you’re going to throw them back in even though they have. Michael in the 20 some odd games that I’ve been here has not shown that consistently enough.  We’ll see how he responds and we’ll go from there.

“He is supposed to be a skating defenseman that can beat the forecheck, that can join the rush and obviously has the ability to chip in on the power play,” Vigneault added. “That means he can get a shot through, he can see people that are open around the net. I’ve seen that throughout the span that I’ve been here but I haven’t seen it consistently enough to say he warrants a regular spot all the time. I can only go by what I’ve seen and with what my coaches are seeing. I wasn’t here in the past.”

As always, feel free to voice your opinions below.

Latest Posts
  1. Canucks ink Brandon Sutter to five-year, $21.875 million extension

    Aug 4, 2015, 6:28 PM EDT

    Brandon Sutter Getty Images

    Jim Benning follows through after calling him a “foundation piece.”

  2. Poker star Daniel Negreanu plans to buy slice of Vegas franchise

    Aug 4, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT

    Daniel Negreanu Getty Images

    Assuming of course Bill Foley succeeds in his attempt to bring the NHL to Sin City.

  3. Red Wings ’14-15 Outlook

    Aug 4, 2015, 4:55 PM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Where should we set the bar post-Babcock?

  4. Poll: Can Detroit make it 25 straight playoff runs?

    Aug 4, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings AP

    Yes, it’s the inevitable, perennial Red Wings question.

  5. NHL unveils ‘historic’ digital media rights deal with MLBAM

    Aug 4, 2015, 3:05 PM EDT

    Beyond Sport United 2015 Getty Images

    MLBAM will handle NHL.com, Center Ice, Game Center Live and the NHL Network in 2016.

  6. Red Wings’ biggest question: goaltending

    Aug 4, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

    howardmrazekgetty Getty Images

    Can Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek get it done, collectively?

  7. Caps GM provides positive injury updates for Backstrom, Orpik

    Aug 4, 2015, 12:22 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Washington Capitals Getty Images

    The skilled Swede may or may not be ready to start the season.

  8. Looking to make the leap: Dylan Larkin

    Aug 4, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Dylan Larkin Getty Images

    He’s already made a positive impression on Jeff Blashill.

  9. Under Pressure: Jeff Blashill

    Aug 4, 2015, 10:08 AM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwfin2ixyjjjywfizwyynmm3n2fkyjmwztaynmzly2y1 AP

    Mike Babcock’s act is a tough one to follow.

  10. It’s Detroit Red Wings Day at PHT

    Aug 4, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Petr Mrazek AP

    The book has closed on the Mike Babcock era.

  11. Avs-Red Wings alumni game to feature Sakic, Forsberg, Shanahan, Lidstrom

    Aug 3, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    2011 NHL Entry Draft - Round One Getty Images

    The squads will feature players that were part of either organization from 1996-2002

  12. Sharks re-sign Aaron Dell after strong AHL campaign

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    Aaron Dell Getty Images

    He’ll be fighting to be seen as the team’s third-string goaltender.

  13. What does Jack Eichel mean to the Buffalo Sabres?

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Jack Eichel Getty Images

    He’s already improved the perception of the franchise, but will he have that kind of impact long-term?

  14. MacLellan doesn’t think summer additions have to take from Johansson

    Aug 3, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    Marcus Johansson Getty Images

    He’ll have a tough time maintaining a top-six role though.

  15. Buffalo Sabres ’14-15 Outlook

    Aug 3, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    MATT MOULSON AP

    Despite all the splashy moves, patience likely will be needed.

  16. Poll: How soon will the Sabres make the playoffs?

    Aug 3, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    Tim Murray, Jack Eichel AP

    Pondering a rebuilding process that took a leap.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (1721)
  2. N. Bonino (1375)
  3. J. Toews (1345)
  4. E. Fehr (1329)
  5. B. Gionta (1283)