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Del Zotto becomes UFA after Preds don’t qualify him

Jun 30, 2014, 5:39 PM EDT

Buffalo Sabres v Nashville Predators Getty Images

It was not a good year for Michael Del Zotto. As a result, the 24-year-old defenseman will become an unrestricted free agent after the Nashville Predators decided against giving him a qualifying offer.

Del Zotto started the season with the New York Rangers. However, not too long after his new coach, Alain Vigneault, openly wondered about the player he’d been told was “much better,” Del Zotto was traded to Nashville.

Unfortunately for Del Zotto, it didn’t take long to wander into another coach’s doghouse. This time, it was Barry Trotz’s.

Fast forward to the offseason and, according to Predators GM David Poile, Del Zotto was simply “not a fit” in Nashville.

Del Zotto’s best NHL season came in 2011-12, when he scored 41 points for the Rangers. He also had a strong rookie campaign in 2009-10, when he had 37 points and earned a few Calder Trophy votes.

His expiring contract paid him $5.1 million over two years, for a cap hit of $2.55 million.

  1. bwayblueshirt - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    As I said when he was a Ranger, his only hope is to convert to the wing. If he can’t do that… well… they’re called DEFENEmen for a reason. Sorry.

  2. bwayblueshirt - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    As I said when he was a Ranger, his only hope is to convert to the wing. If he can’t do that… well… they’re called DEFENSEmen for a reason. Sorry.

  3. bleedrangerblue - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Hey I liked him when he was with the Rangers. He had some good moments.

    • billiam55 - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:23 PM

      true…………..but then he had some god awful moments which unfortunately outweighed the good moments.

  4. icelovinbrotha215 - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Drinking too much GP8.

  5. bleedrangerblue - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    Say whatcha want. Look at the Girardi turnovers… You lived them, in the finals no less.

  6. stakex - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Rangers make an offer to MDZ.

    Consider: Given his struggles, he would come cheap which is a plus considering the Rangers cap crunch. He has a fairly good history with the Rangers despite some defensive short comings, and could give them some much needed offensive pop from the back end (the Rangers only have one defensemen capable of generating decent offense). Sather has also gone back to some former Rangers players that fell on hard times in the past (See Sean Avery), so its not hard to imagine he might try again.

    Now I should say that while such a move wouldn’t shock me, I don’t think its too likely. Even on the cheap MDZ might still command more than the Rangers could afford, and he wouldn’t be a proper replacement for Stralman (a right handed shutdown defensemen), which is likely going to be Sathers focus. Still though, interesting to consider.

    • 7mantel - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      I also would like to see the NYR’s give him one more shot ! Still don’t know what happened to this kid , showed a lot of promise then it was like someone else laced up the skates .

  7. bleedrangerblue - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    I agree bring back MDZ. I like this kid. He’s a Ranger. He has upside. He needs his confidence back. Bring back MDZ!!!

  8. jberd08 - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    I’d like the Flyers to make him an offer. Hopefully we can move Vinny, and I wouldn’t mind moving Streit. It’d be sweet if we could, practically in one off season, get out from under the the old guys being over payed mess Homer left Hextall with. I think he deserves another chance. 2 years, 2 million?

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      Moving Vinny would be the ideal move, along with adding MDZ cheap, but getting rid of Mark Streit? No way. Maybe if one or a few of Gostisbehere, Morin, Hagg, Alt, or Sanheim were ready we could do it, but they’re not (maybe ‘Ghost’, still no). Streit, besides his veteran leadership, proved that he could still be a difference maker. It’s not ideal but the 36-year old is our #1 guy and he was somewhat underrated by a lot of people last season. I mean he didn’t miss a single game and managed to put up 10 goals and 34 assists. And that was as the #2 PP QB behind Kimmo. This season he should supplant Timonen on the top PP unit so expect those numbers to go up. And as others have said, he’s a young 36, after only playing in the NHL for 9 years. Look for 12-15 goals and 35-40 assists.

      Move Vinny (after July 2nd, most likely), keep Streit, and bring in MDZ on a cheap deal to try and revitalize a once talented career. Those would be 3 solid decisions, IMO. All steps in the right direction for this club.

      • moarjam - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        HA! C’mon Philly! Love DZ but him and the flyers aren’t a great match. They need defensemen that play in their own end…and that’s not where DZ thrives…

  9. bcisleman - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:01 AM

    Another FOJT.Isles need a vet offensive D. Give MDZ a change of scenery underJT’s wing & who knows what might happen?

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