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Poile admits Del Zotto is ‘not a fit’ with Preds

Jun 29, 2014, 6:54 PM EDT

Buffalo Sabres v Nashville Predators Getty Images

When the Nashville Predators acquired Michael Del Zotto from the New York Rangers in exchange for another defenseman (Kevin Klein), the general thinking fell in two general camps:

1. “Barry Trotz might be able to fix the man nicknamed Del Zaster.”

2. “It’s going to be a Del Zaster.”

Even with Trotz out of town, it seems like the Predators are acknowledging that it ended up being a disaster. OK, they didn’t use such harsh words; the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper reports that GM David Poile merely says that 24-year-old blueliner isn’t “a fit” in Nashville.

From the sound of things, the polarizing defenseman could see any number of fates:

This comes a day after it was revealed that the Predators were shopping him around the league, with this update indicating that they’re having trouble finding buyers. Back in March, the Preds made it clear that they believe his game “has slipped” and that feeling seemingly remains even with a different outlook via new head coach Peter Laviolette.

At this point, it’s difficult to see why one of the NHL’s other 29 teams wouldn’t just wait to grab Del Zotto via free agency rather than giving up assets to gain his rights.

As much criticism as his defensive prowess (probably fairly) receives, not many blueliners hit the free market at his age with his offensive resume (37 points as a rookie in 2009-10, a career-high 41 in 2011-12). It’s hard to fathom every team passing up on a possible “reclamation project” like MDZ.

It’s unlikely that the Predators will get anything for trouble – aside from the nearly $3 million in cap space that they garnered from dealing Klein – though.

  1. bleedrangerblue - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Bring him back. See what he has under AV. He’s cheap, and he knows it’s his last chance.

    • rsiddiqu - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      that’s the dumbest comment i’ve heard

      • tru2joelu4eva - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        that’s interesting considering that you read it

      • billiam55 - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        u heard him say that? u mean u read?

    • killerpgh - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      A qualifying offer to MDZ would be 2.9 million. I wouldn’t call that cheap for a player that the GM thinks don’t fit in. That being said if they to let him become a FA on July 1st I’m sure there will be a handful teams offering him a contract.

    • cliffatola - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      AV helped send him packing to Nashville in the first place you simpleton.

  2. stakex - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    At just 24 years old, its still too early to give up on Del Zotto. He’s struggled a lot over the last two seasons, but that doesn’t mean he can’t at least rediscover the offensive part of his game. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a great defensive player, but that’s not so bad if he’s putting up 40 points or so.

  3. icelovinbrotha215 - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    One has to ask what happened. It was only a couple of years ago that he was one of the top young OFDs in the league. Crazy. I wouldn’t mind the Flyers taking a chance on him but they already have alot of money dedicated to older, slower D-men.

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:11 AM

    This is obviously comparing apples to oranges but look no further than Steve Mason. Broke out as a star then came crashing down with a few terrible seasons. Now he’s back as a true #1. MDZ had two good years followed by a totally unpredictable drop off. At one point the Rangers and Sather were considering giving him big money, but then he fell apart… now he can’t even get a qualifying offer. He’s always had his warts but you don’t just suddenly lose all your physical ability. It’s gotta be mental or he’s just not working (or focused) hard enough, bc the tools are there.

    Whoever gets his rights, give him a one year deal and some PP time and see if he really just was a flash in the pan. I have a feeling he’ll always be a 4th forward out there, but some clubs could use that. This could be an under the radar grab Hexy, do it!

  5. sgs32 - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    maybe they should move him to winger, anyone?

  6. justinpecora50 - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    Once he went into Torts doghouse, that was it. He’s still a very good skater and he can shoot, I think his puck movement around the net, especially when he’s under pressure, is where his weakness lies. Somebody will sign him, just not for $2.9 mil.

  7. DED - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Del Zotto was a 1st round pick (20th overall) in 2008. If he can calm down, not be so nervous about making mistakes, he should be able to turn his game around and realize his potential. Maybe he can join a young team that’s rebuilding (low pressure and expectations) and use his experience as a positive, rather than going to a team with immediate playoff expectations.

  8. dragonrich17 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    The last thing the Flyers need is a player “trying to find their game.” They need to improve their defense not another Luke Schenn, no offense.

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