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Broadway shakeup: Rangers trade Del Zotto to Preds for Klein

Jan 22, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT

The New York Rangers have parted ways with oft-criticized defenseman Michael Del Zotto, sending him to Nashville in exchange for fellow defenseman Kevin Klein.

The trade, first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger, is pending a confirmation call.

UPDATE: Deal approved, per the Rangers…

“Michael gives us another young, gifted left-handed shooting defenseman with significant offensive upside,” Preds GM David Poile said in a statement. “We look forward to his presence on our already talented young blue line, further balancing our defensive corps.”

The move marks an end to Del Zotto’s stay in head coach Alain Vingeault’s doghouse. Since taking over from John Tortorella as Rangers’ bench boss, Vigneault has been highly critical of Del Zotto (see here and here), banishing him to the press box as a healthy scratch on a few occasions.

Del Zotto has enjoyed tremendous success in the past, though, scoring a career-high 41 points in 77 games during the 2011-12 campaign. Despite his defensive shortcomings, he is a talented offensive weapon on the blueline.

The 23-year-old, a former first-round pick, is in the last of a two-year, $5.1 million deal. He’s a RFA at season’s end.

Klein, 29, isn’t as well-known as Del Zotto but has emerged as a quality blueliner for the Preds in recent years. He signed a five-year, $14.5 million deal just prior to the lockout — carrying an affordable $2.9 million cap hit — but has struggled offensively this season, with just three points through 47 games.

In 2011-12, Klein set a career-high by scoring 21 points in just 66 games played, and had four points in 10 playoff appearances. He has been struggling with a foot injury this year, which is believed to have hampered his play.

It’s worth noting that New York and Nashville solidified the right and left sides of their defense with this deal. Klein’s a righty, which is something Vigneault wanted for the Rangers; Del Zotto is a lefty, which balances out the Preds’ blueline.

This deal marks the second significant move made by Poile in recent weeks. Last Monday, Poile shipped one of his big free-agent acquisitions — forward Matt Hendricks — in exchange for Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk.

  1. jernster21 - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    That’s it? Weren’t they asking for a top 6 forward or top 4 D man in return? Laughable.

    • tdrusher225 - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      That was never going to happen. No GM in their right mind would give that for Del Zotto.

      • 950003cups - Jan 23, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        This is a strange deal. BOTH teams would’ve been fine giving those players away for nothing. The rangers basically gave a younger irrelevant player for an older irrelevant player. Its a lose lose. Nobody won anything. Nobody lost anything, except possibly NY because MDZ is 6 years younger.

    • lowenni - Jan 22, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      It was essentially a swap of struggling players (although Klein’s been decent despite his point totals). I’m sure NY realized they weren’t going to get a top-6 forward, so they basically swapped a potential top-4 D man (Del Zotto) to the Preds for a…potential top-4 D man. Just a shakeup, really, but this could be good for the Rags, I think Klein’s pretty good. And Del Zotto will help the Preds score, they can sacrifice giving up a few goals if MDZ can pot some of his own.

  2. bwayblueshirt - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    Wow. This is barely a lateral move for NY. Very disappointing.

    • lowenni - Jan 22, 2014 at 5:04 PM

      You should be happy you were able to get that for MDZ with the way he’s played this season…Sather was never going to get a top-6 forward or top-4 d-man. Klein may not have as much POTENTIAL as Del Zotto, but as of now they’re basically players of equal calibre. And Klein is and probably always will be more defensively responsible.

      Here’s his THN profile and scouting report, in case you were curious:

      Assets: Blocks shots with aplomb and can play a shutdown role, if needed. Is mobile and can move the puck up ice. Is also a solid contributor on special teams. Owns a good-sized frame.
      Flaws: Doesn’t use his size with enough consistency, so as to gain an advantage against NHL forwards. Is inconsistent in terms of point production and offensive impact on a game, as well.
      Career Potential: Solid, versatile but inconsistent defenseman.

  3. sjtorpitt - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    Klein caught my attention a few years back with good play, but I’d forgot he even existed this year. 23 with a lot of upside for a 29 who seems to be trending downward.

  4. bronxtale247 - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    What a joke. Way to go Sather, dump upside young talent for a older downhill tool.

  5. killerpgh - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    The Predators got the better player, imo but I just don’t see Del Zotto fitting into the system the Preds play.

  6. pavelfitzgerald - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Why do GM’s even trade with Poile? He clearly gets the better end of deals (i.e. Raping GMGM in the Erat/Forsberg deal)

    • flyerspsu - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      Well there’s the trade where he gave up Timonen and Hartnell for a 1st round pick that turned into Jonathan Blum, clear loss there

      but Poile does seem to get the better of most trades

      • storminator16 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        They were both set to become free agents before the ’07 draft. Nashville didn’t have the dough as Craig Leipold was busy doing a deal to sell the team to Jim Basille (a deal which of course fell through for infamous reasons). So, Poile was forced to flip them for picks. His hands were tied but he flipped them to the worst team in the other conference. He did what he could.

        I’m just trying to avoid any revisionist history.

    • westinpat - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Regier got a first round out of Poile for Gaustad. You win some, you lose some.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      Poile’s very patient and doesn’t make many moves he doesn’t think he wins. Maybe that can be a win for the other team as well if it’s a good hockey deal, but it’s still something to keep in mind.

  7. jkay1818 - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    have any of you people commenting seen MDZ’s play in the past few years? he has become an absolute train wreck. even if he does well in nashville, he wouldnt have been as successful here. i can count how many games he has cost the rangers this season. One as recent as last week when he was napping off a faceoff that led to a TB breakaway which ended up being the game winner. He has been horrid since the ECF a few yrs ago where tortorella cut his mins. he’s a turnover machine, gets bumped off the puck an can’t score anymore. other than that, he’s been tremendous here. They needed a steady dman. they also shed some cap space this yr, so, if they move a guy or two, they have addtl money to spend. Rangers tried getting methot a few mos back straight up and ott laughed in their faces. When the NYR played them last sat i even thought they were ballsy to ask him. I dont get the comments saying they were looking for a top flight player. they knew damn well they wouldnt be getting one. he was booed everytime he was on the ice. even on plays that were painfully obvious he wasn’t at fault people blamed him. his time was done here. im more mad at the fact the NYR took mcilrath over fowler. it was right after del zotto’s rookie yr and the rangers felt they’d have too many offensive d-men. what a mistake!

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      Seriously. He is a space cadet. Lost out there. I’m fine with it. We could have gotten MORE, but I think we have enough offense. I just can’t stand watching him basically escort guys right into the crease for easy goals or rebound shots.

  8. 7mantel - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Vingeault disliked Del Zotto from the get go !

    • cofran2004 - Jan 23, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      To be fair, rangers fans that know what they’re talking about didn’t care too much for him this season either…

      • 7mantel - Jan 23, 2014 at 10:33 AM

        Stupid statement ! Your comment has no merit and nothing to do about what I said !

      • cofran2004 - Jan 23, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        …are you kidding me? You said Vigneult didn’t like Del Zotto. I said smart rangers fans in general didn’t like Del Zotto. How do those two things not correlate?

      • 7mantel - Jan 23, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        I’ve been a Ranger fan over 50 yrs and my thoughts of how Vineault felt about Del Zotto has nothing to do about how fans felt about Del Zotto ! A real fan would know that !

      • cofran2004 - Jan 23, 2014 at 12:27 PM


        What I’m saying…. is that MOST rangers fans AGREE with Vigneault. PLEASE take a reading comprehension course.

      • 7mantel - Jan 23, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        I didn’t know you were the self appointed voice of Ranger fans !

      • cofran2004 - Jan 23, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        This will be my last message in this thread, as you clearly need the last word.

        never claimed to be. But it has been well documented by pretty much every other consistent rangers fan on these boards that they aren’t huge fans of del zotto.

        Seriously… reading comprehension.

    • 7mantel - Jan 23, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Thank you for 14 likes I guess REAL Ranger fans agree !

      • cofran2004 - Jan 23, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        Or… they just agree that vigneault didn’t care for MDZ’s game. I even agree with you there.

      • 7mantel - Jan 23, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        So why the wise ass remark about real ranger fan ?

      • cofran2004 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        It wasn’t meant to be wise-ass. I think we’re just having a miscommunication…

  9. multiplemiggs - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    All Klein is good for is “tap-ins” LOL

    • hockey412 - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      And defense, too. Del Zotto isn’t good for defense.

  10. hockey412 - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    I don’t hate the move. Del Zotto was most likely going to want a raise this year, which Sather would have been criticized for, and Klein is signed for the next what, three and a half years? DZ’s stock isn’t quite as high around the league as people are interpreting it to be. Meanwhile, Klein has been a gritty D-man for Nashville, and that is exactly what the soft NYR blue line needs. Sounds like a bad deal for NY, but I really don’t think it is.

  11. xdj511 - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Okay, so the Rangers traded a struggling player who is about to be an RFA and based on reports of his sour relationship with AV was a goner, and they picked up a reasonably priced stay-at-home d-man who is under contract for a few seasons.

    I can’t find too much fault with this. It’s just like the Mets and Ike Davis. Everybody knew that they were trying to move this guy. This was the best player that they could get. The Rangers have enough puck moving d-men, so a stay at home guy would probably be a good fit.

  12. flyerspsu - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Rangers could have probably gotten more but right now Klein is the much better player, he’s a solid, responsible gritty dman while Del Zotto is a defensive liability that has merely shown glimpses of good to great offensive ability that have yet to come to fruition or at least at any consistency whatsoever

  13. rpiotr01 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Del Zotto is an offensive defenseman (read: not great at playing defense) who hasn’t been providing much offense in the past couple seasons. Rangers fans forget how young he is, and that the position can often take time to develop, but I think the way they’re built right now GS/AV would prefer to take on a guy who can log minutes and play solid D over dealing with MDZ’s growing pains for another couple years. He’s simply had too many give aways, too many soft plays at his own blue line, and far too few points scored.

  14. youcallthathockeyblog - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Good to see Glen Sather still can open up a can of failure after a few quiet years

    • xdj511 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      Sather’s track record in free agent signings is horrendous, and his track record drafting impact players is hit-and-miss at best, but the trades he has made with the Rangers have usually been good.

  15. stakex - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    While I know I’m in the minority, I have been one of the Rangers fans really hoping Del Zotto wasn’t traded, and I think this will turn into another Sather bomb over time. Has Del Zotto struggled this year? Sure… but so have a lot of the Rangers, and like many of them DZ has looked better of late. For some reason however, AV singled DZ out despite he was far from the only Ranger failing to live up to expectations early on.

    Over the last two seasons Del Zotto has shown he has the ability to be one of the top offensive defensemen in the league. He’s not the best defensemen, and neither was Brian Leech, but like Leech DZ’s offensive ability more than offsets his defensive shortcomings. Not to mention he’s still quite young, at only 23… meaning his best years are likely still to come. I understand that he needed a new contract at the end of the season, and that the Rangers might not have been able to keep him, but they really should have tried.

    Klein isn’t a terrible player, but he has little future upside. Its likely his play will only be going downhill as time goes on, while the Rangers might have to sit back and watch Del Zotto turn into a star…. and Sather will have yet again traded away a talented young player before they have time to fully mature.

    • xdj511 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:22 PM

      I know what you’re saying, but MDZ’s problems have been ongoing for a couple of seasons already. I don’t think the 27-31 peak that is typical for baseball is necessarily the same for hockey. Hockey players sometimes have their best years in their early 20’s and are already in decline by their mid-late 20’s. Maybe MDZ hasn’t peaked early. He might benefit from a change of scenery. If he gets his game together and fulfills his potential, then yeah, this is going to look like a bad trade, but it looks like it was never going to happen with the Rangers, so the best thing was to cut their losses and get something back.

    • jkay1818 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      the fact you mentioned leetch and MDZ in the same sentence means you know absolutely nothing. Leetch was actually excellent on D and for a guy his size he was great at the hip check on players coming into the zone. I have also never seen a dman break up as many two on ones as he did. You’re talking about an all time great.
      Del zotto hasnt been bad of late? what rangers games have you been watching? like i said earlier, as early as last week he was responsible for the winning goal vs TB. Too many times he is out of position, turning it over at center ice, not picking up the right man in front. His downfall came in the ECF where he became God awful and a turnover machine. He isnt good on the PP anymore either, A PP ranked in the top ten. You are the same guy who said they are going to fire AV this yr. Del zotto has no shot at becoming a star, he is regressing. Any person who watches him night in and out can see this. His trade value is at an all time low, if fans know he is regressing and what him gone, what exec and gm would trade a lot for him that know more and see the same thing? What sather trades have been bombed by the way? hes pulled some good ones aside from mcdonagh. He got prust, avery, dumped gaborik for some good depth players.

      • xdj511 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        Ahh… the patented Brian Leetch “flying butt check”

        Post lockout that play is probably an interference penalty for moving out of your lane to impede the progress of the forechecker, but man was it fun to watch back in the day.

        I remember Brian Leetch. I watched him through nearly all of his career. MDZ is not and will never be compared to Brian Leetch.

      • stakex - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        Learn to read man. Did I say Del Zotto was as good as Leetch? Nope… only that like Leetch, his offensive talent is his value. That is not a comparison of their ability, and if you had reading comprehension skills you might have understood that. Its also a well know fact that the majority of Leetch’s career he was a sub-par defensemen… something clouded by nostalgia and his start status.

        Anyway, there is no doubt that DZ has had a bad year… but he’s only 23 years old. That’s the age most defensemen are only starting to reach the NHL. To give up on him for some spotty play, despite his offensive talent, is laughable. You watch… with the right coach and some more time he’s going to become a top NHL defensemen.

        As for AV, there was a point where almost all Rangers fans were screaming for him to be fired…. and before the current hot streak they are on that was still the case. The Rangers very well may still miss the playoffs, and AV’s coaching ability is still in question. Don’t let one good 10 game run fool you into thinking this team is going to be a cup contender all the sudden. Especially considering AV has specialized in finding ways to lose in the playoffs over the years….

    • barkar942 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      Personally, stakex, I have to disagree with mentioning DelZaster and Leetch in the same breath, there is just no comparison. Leetch had something from day one that DelZ never has- self-confidence in his abilities.
      The loss last week to Tampa Bay was pinned dead on his shoulders when he allowed the player on the faceoff to skate right by him right after he saw it done one play earlier.
      I personally wish him well, but I wish him well somewhere else.
      And now, can we bring up the bonehead penalty by Kreider that cost them the game last night? I know the kid can score, but he has to learn the rest of the game!

      • joey4id - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        Leetch certainly showed more potential from the moment he joined Rangers in 1988 and played very well for the 8 or years. After that it was mostly a struggle to play well. Maybe stakex is too young to remember how good Leetch was at the same age as MDZ.

    • stakex - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      Nope, not too young at all to remember Leetch when he was at his best…. however I remember very clearly that Leetch wasn’t the worlds best defensemen. He had incredible offensive talent, had amazing play making, and was solid on defense…. but its nostalgic clouding to remember him as some sort of defensive stud. Not to mention by the middle of his career you would be hard press to even call his defensive talent average.

      Now I wasn’t saying Del Zotto is as good as Leetch…. not even close. I was simply pointing out that like Leetch, his value isn’t his defensive ability… its his offensive ability from the blue line. That’s something few NHL defensemen have, and without Del Zotto the Rangers don’t have a true offensive threat from the blue line.

      • moarjam - Jan 23, 2014 at 9:59 AM

        The rangers didn’t have a true offensive threat from the blueline with Del Zotto on the roster…

        Look the guy showed flashes of being a good player a few years ago but hey, so did Wojtek Wolski.

        He’s tabbed as an offensive defenseman. Well he cant play defense and he cant really play offense either. You see potential…I see a guy who is slow as molasses, cant run a PP or cant EVER hit the net.

        I know nothing about this Klein guy but he cant do worse than DZ was doing. He was horrible this year. There’s really no disputing that.

        I hope it works out for the kid but it wasn’t going to work out here. Change of scenery may do him good.

  16. stepanup - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    For this year, Klein will provide the stable bottom pair defensive partner for John Moore. However, I don’t see what there is to gain going into the future. DZ is still young and I believe can be successful in the right situation. Say, setting up Shea Weber on the Preds PP.

  17. anthonykornheiser - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    You mean like say, setting up all the rangers forwards who are better on o than the preds? The same del zotto who was on the point for the pp that ranked dead last or near dead last the past two yrs before they removed him and now top 5?
    That del zotto

  18. stcrowe - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    You have to figure that another team would have offered up more for MDZ.

    Perhaps due to conference geography, I have no memory of ever seeing Klein play, nor of even hearing about him. However, I tend to find that defencemen that play regularly, but that you never hear of, are ones that do their job.

  19. hockeydon10 - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    The only reason I know who Klein is:

    • stakex - Jan 22, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      If he does something like that in NY, he might as well ask for a trade…. because as we see with MDZ, NY fans never let something like that go.

      • cofran2004 - Jan 23, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        Everyone gets undressed by the best offensive players in the world every so often. I could probably find a video of Datsyuk making a gawd-awful play if I looked hard enough too.

        And it’s not like MDZ only did stuff like that once or twice in his career. Sometimes, its 2-3 times a game. Every time he was on the ice and the other team was pressing, I held my breath.

    • bspray - Jan 23, 2014 at 2:41 AM

      Sure, but there are a lot of guys that get abused by Datsyuk, but then there is also this…

      • DED - Jan 23, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        Ooooo, you’d never see DZ do that.

  20. jaybyrd99 - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    AV’s been unhappy with MDZ all year so this is no surprise . He’s played better the past few weeks , partly because his minutes have been cut , with J Moore picking up the slack. I was hoping for more in the trade , but when it’s out that your play is disappointing it’s hard to deal from strength. Hopefully Klein is good in his zone and can be paired with someone with some O like Stralman.

  21. bbk1000 - Jan 23, 2014 at 5:12 AM

    Sather is a complete dope, and I thought Esposito made some dumb trades…

  22. nashernation - Jan 29, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    There is a god! I’ve watched MDZ turn into a confused mistake prone mess the last few years. Klein is a solid right handed defenseman who isn’t a puss like MDZ. Great job getting rid of this disappointment.

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