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. Evander Kane: I know I can score 50 goals

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

    Evander Kane AP

    The Winnipeg Jets would settle for far less after he scored just 19 last season.

  2. Tom Wilson (broken leg) not sure when he’ll return

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:03 PM EDT

    Tom Wilson Getty Images

    The last thing he wants is to suffer a setback by rushing his recovery.

  3. ‘C’-less Thornton comes out swing against Wilson’s ‘tomorrow team’ talk

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:37 PM EDT

    TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 3: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 3, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Sharks defeated the Leafs 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

    That’s not the only summer statement he took exception to.

  4. Video: Grieving Ryan Suter talks about his late father

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:04 PM EDT

    uwbadgersbobsuter

    Bob Suter was a defenseman on the “Miracle on Ice” team.

  5. Desjardins: Canucks comfortable carrying three goalies

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    Jacob Markstrom Getty Images

    That usually doesn’t end well, but this might be an exception.

  6. Clowe ‘advised’ to fight less, not sure he will

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:59 PM EDT

    CloweDevils Getty Images

    He suffered three concussions in under a year.

  7. Orpik heard good things ‘human-being wise’ about Trotz

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Brooks Orpik Getty Images

    It’s part of the reason why the defenseman is playing for Washington.

  8. Joe Sakic’s now general manager in name too

    Sep 19, 2014, 4:17 PM EDT

    Joe Sakic Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations of the Colorado Avalanche addresses the media as Patrick Roy is introduced as the new Head Coach/Vice President of Hockey Operations of the Colorado Avalanche during a press conference at the Pepsi Center on May 28, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.
(May 27, 2013 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Greg Sherman stayed on as his assistant.

  9. Kyle Palmieri out at least two weeks with high ankle sprain

    Sep 19, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT

    kylepalmierigetty Getty Images

    He’s not the only member of the Ducks that’s hurting.

  10. Doughty (upper body) listed as day-to-day

    Sep 19, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Drew Doughty Getty Images

    Held out of Kings’ on-ice activities on Friday.

  11. Sakic says Avs ownership gave ‘green light’ to ‘make this team win’

    Sep 19, 2014, 2:06 PM EDT

    Joe Sakic AP

    “We’re a cap team now, despite us being in the bottom five of the league in ticket revenue.”

  12. Update: Giroux out two weeks with lower-body injury

    Sep 19, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Claude Giroux Getty Images

    Flyers captain currently being evaluated.

  13. Nuge must ‘step up’ for Oilers, who are thin down the middle

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Getty Images

    “We have two NHL centermen right now,” said Dallas Eakins.

  14. Blues invite Ryan Whitney to camp

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:09 PM EDT

    whitneyryangetty Getty Images

    Just like they did last year.

  15. NHL GMs sympathize with Jackets on Johansen situation

    Sep 19, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

    Davidson

    But most of them wouldn’t have gone public with the negotiations.

  16. In final contract year, Hartley unfazed by lack of new deal

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Bob Hartley AP

    What does his future hold in Calgary?

  17. Coyotes GM: We can’t ‘match up, No. 1 line to No. 1 line, with many teams in the West’

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:07 AM EDT

    Don Maloney AP

    “But maybe we can control the top lines and outperform the lower lines.”

  18. Ducks GM hoping ‘the kids’ can get it done in goal

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT

    John Gibson Getty Images

    “I’m sure they’re up to the task.”

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Quick (1193)
  2. B. Schenn (1099)
  3. N. Horton (970)
  4. R. McDonagh (958)
  5. B. Bishop (938)