Over at ESPN Insider (via Spector's Hockey), Victoria Matiash suggests that the hiring of Alain Vigneault could be bad news for Michael Del Zotto as the Rangers new head coach is wary of relying too heavily on his defensively weaker young players.
Matiash adds that given the Rangers blueline depth, Del Zotto could see a reduction in his playing time under Vigneault.
Spector's Hockey takes it a step further saying that if this scenario plays out, Del Zotto could be the subject of trade speculation near the March trade deadline.
...i've said it over again on this blog, Del Zotto has the physical tools to be the Rangers power play quarterback for the next 10 years. Unfortunately, the problem with him is between the ears. He has absolutely no hockey sense. Not sure if it was Torts' system that confused him or just an overall lack of knowledge of the finer points of the game. If it's the latter, I have no idea how he's made it this far.
...and what's worse is that he's not providing enough offensively to offset his defensive deficiencies. As evidenced by his ZERO power play goals last season (just three overall).
...the only real strategy AV can take with Del Zotto is to try and simplify things for him in the defensive end. Give Del Zotto a remedial understanding of what he wants and pray it's enough. At the same time, hopefully AV's power play knowledge will kick start him offensively. If not, I don't see how the Rangers don't try and move him at the deadline as Spector suggests.
Let's see what Ulfie can do with MDZ first before we go trading him. As a 3rd pair D with some PP time, I'm willing to give him a chance under the new regime. It's not like we have tons of Dman banging the door down to crack the NHL roster AND please stop saying McIlrath. Yes .. has potential and snarl but if you're complaining about MDZ's defensive prowess then watch tape on McIlrath's. He's not ready and needs to work on his skating.
Keith, Doughty, Chara, Keith again, Letang, Lidstrom, Niedermeyer...Teams don't win Cups without having a true puck moving defenseman. To say that the Rangers don't need MDZ because Moore or McDoangh can be that defenseman is the same as saying they don't need Nash because Kreider can be the scoring threat. For all his faults, MDZ is a 40+ point defenseman, and the ONLY one the Rangers have had since 02-03 (Poti). If someone else steps up and shows they can carry that load, then MDZ may become a trade chip. But the thing is, unless you package MDZ with another high quality player, they are not going to get back another puck moving defenseman that can match his production. Hopefully Ulfie can help MDZ with the defensive side of things. I'm still baffled why they didn't ask Leetch to mentor him a bit as one offensive defenseman to another. Hell, MDZ has a sum total of 11 AHL games under his belt and he's got seasons of 37, 41, and 21 (in 46 games) points under his belt. Bottom line is MDZ is here to stay unless he completely tanks this season and someone else makes HUGE strides or they get another puck mover from somewhere.
What frustrates me most about mdz is that he can't ever seem be able to stop the puck from leaving the offensive zone, no matter how slow its moving. But he needs time to develop and I think under av and ulf he's gonna be just fine
I'm getting so fucking sick of hearing that Del Zotto is a bust or an underachiever. The kid is 23 years old. Not every offensive d-man in the league can be Erik Karlsson and light the league up at age 20. I still have faith in Del Zotto, and honestly Ranger fans that just spew constant negativity about the kid, some at the point where they hope he fails, or laughs at his failures, make me sick. They don't deserve to be called fans. I don't think DZ has no hockey sense, I think he's a mentally weak player who is extremely physically gifted, and needs to be utilized properly. We can start the DZ is a bust nonsense again when he's 27 and still playing the same way. But for right now, give the kid a damn break.
P.S. ESPN has no credentials to report anything hockey related in my mind. Bafoons.
This Victoria chick from ESPN.. yea I don't remember the last time she wrote anything accurate/informative/worth reading.
1. Since when can ESPN claim ANY hockey expertise?
2. I am not so down on DZ as the rest of the crowd here - there have been games in which he was stellar. I am not saying he's a prime D player, but he is not as terrible as one would guess from the negative comments here. This reminds me of the period of time when a Boyle derangement syndrome seemed to be a predominant affliction among the commenters on this site.
I kind of wish I was an ESPN Insider so I could see who she thinks would take his minutes if cut back. One of the sticking points with Torts was that he played the top guys too much so can't imagine she expect more to put on them (actually I expect their minutes to be scaled back) so who does that leave, John Moore? If so, I don't really get her argument.
Del Zotto to Lose Playing Time Under AV? Hopefully YES!!! DZ has the tools but underchieves and makes bonehead mistakes year after year. He's had his chances and then some. Moore has already surpassed DZ by a wide margin.Yes,he is young but look at Staal, Big G, MackTruck and Moore. They all showed more promise than DZ at a young age and none of them were as careless. Let's trade DelScrubo while he still has value, I am willing to take that risk...and Fire Sather too.
@TheNYRBlog The time him bought with his hit on Chris Neil in the PO's is up this year. Make or break year.
DZ could be awesome, really. If only he could develop a sense of when to jump in and when to play back, when to pinch on the boards, how to shoot the puck on goal, play the angles as he is skating back into his own end, clear the crease and when to go down to block a shot instead of simply sliiiiiding by the play on his arse. Once he irons those little wrinkles out the Rangers will be set for years to come.
I don't see any place on this team for Del Zotto going foward. He is a bad player, I don't care that once every 12 shifts he makes a great breakout pass - he's not a good defenseman. Trade him a 3rd rounder and a prospect and move along. We'll be better off.
I'm hoping we see a lot more out of dz. if he wants to be a ranger long term he has to know this is the season to show that. if not...we better get a good package for him.
Hopefully Ulf will straighten him out. Realistically if Staal is healthy, DZ should be on the 3rd defensive pairing.
@TheNYRBlog i dont see the problem here
@TheNYRBlog We can only hope
@gravey94 You just compared MDZ to Tom Poti aka "The Master of the Poke Check"!?!?!?! Nuff said.
@DaveFL Heard it's not going to be on TV and the Rangers haven't released roster yet.
You're right about ESPN! They've neglected hockey as long as I can remember and I'm 32. About the same age as the network itself. I think they might be affiliated with TSN in Canada tho.
You have the right frame of mind with regards to Del Zotto. He has a 41 point +20 season to his credit in 11/12. No one was whining about DZ last summer. He's young still and I think he played hurt for a good portion of last season, due to the lack of training camp. Players had to get in game shape on the fly by playing. Not fair to judge him on a 48 game season. I think the new coach coming in and a new voice in the locker room will do him good. There's a clean slate for all defenseman and a new system to learn as well. Im pretty sure he's here to start the season so fans should stop with all the ridiculous trade talk and see what he can do this season. He's the only offensive defenseman in the entire organization. That means Europe and North America. There's no one else in the system. So let him be and see what he does this season. In 11/12 he was 10th among defenseman in scoring in the NHL. He's got the best slap shot of all NYR defenseman. If he can't play point on the PP then so be it. Last year his even strength mins went up and PP went down. He was averaging 23:10 mins per game last season and those were hard mins. 2 way Dman mins. Moore and Strahlman played pretty well as a 3rd pair but they were mostly offensive zone starts. Meaning sheltered mins for them. Del Zotto earned Torts trust last season. Fans get on him but his defensive play has improved every year he's been in the NHL. At times last year I thought he was the toughest defenseman on the ice. Both teams.
Next year is his last of his bridge contract I believe. RFA at the end of it though and he at 2.5 now. You gotta believe that
@FireSather are you fucking kidding me? John Moore has already surpassed him, and by a WIDE margin? That's literally the stupidest comment I've ever read here.
@jmacwilli I think I sense some sarcasm here. Not sure tho. lol
Who is next up if the Rangers move Del Zotto? Who is the next puck moving defenseman? There is no one. There are a few 2 and 3 zone defenseman in the system but no Dmen that fit that point production mold. Last season he had a 10 or so game stretch where he was the Rangers best defenseman. For a kid that came up as an offensive player he has become a solid 2 way player. He played 23:10 ATOI last season and Torts used him in all situations. He was a +6 last year in a bad season. How is he bad defensively?
@ATCRyan I do like the snarl that Del Zotto plays with, but it's still not enough to consistently give him 20 minutes of ice time a night. Good point on Ulfy.
That's another one of those foolish fans that think they know the game of hockey. Most of those people have no idea what they're looking at when watching a game. There's no way Moore (who I like a lot) could have surpassed DZ in 25 games last season. Besides one of the 4 lefties will have to play on the right side. So we don't know who that'll be. We don't know who's on what side yet so that goes to show how dumb some fans are. He has no idea what he's looking at.
@Centerman21 Moore is up next. Del Zotto is always lost in his zone, makes terrible decisions on pinches, goes down way too early on 2-on-1s, never hits the net with his shot. And +/- is a terrible barometer of how good a defenseman really is.
That's another thing. Ulf and AV have turned out some pretty good puck moving defenseman. Yandle and Edler come to mind. I think 3rd pairing mins suits DZ best but he showed he can play 20+ mins.
At least someone has a strait head on their sholders. Everyone thinks this kid Moore with 30 NHL games is going to overtake Del Zotto. Kind of crazy. Good thing GM isn't an open application.
JMK8363 can't spell a word correctly and tries to talk about DZ and his shortcomings but can't type it correctly. Try grammer check. You're putting him down but you wrote it like that. Means little I guess since its just a bunch of letters mixed up
I like Moore a lot. The kid showed us he wants to succeed here. He's willing to do whatever he can to help the team. Even start a fight. However, we didnt see enough of him to start putting him ahead of DZ already. I think one of the lefties could be traded tho. To go forward with 4 of em is not a great long term plan. DZ had a tough season last year but he was playing hurt for most of it. His mins greatly increased last year along with his quality of competition. Moore and Strahlman got the sheltered mins. DZ played the 2 way mins last year. +\- may be a vague stat but there's a difference between -20 players and +20 players and in a full season DZ was +20. We all need to leave the kid alone until we see what he does under AV. Give it until at least December if not January. Fans didnt talk about this during 11/12 but he has a tough year with no camp and we should get rid of him? No camp results in injuries and that's what happened to DZ. We can't judge him on one 48 game season after he had an all star calibre season a year and a 1/2 ago. He's going to put all the nay Sayers to bed this year. I wouldn't mind it be for the Rangers.
@KevinDeLury @Centerman21 what's with this love affair for John Moore? I like the kid and can't wait to see what he becomes, but he's the same age as Del Zotto and hasn't accomplished shit in this league yet, and the only real physical advantage he has over DZ is skating. I don't see (anymore) why his play over 25 games makes DZ expendable. It blows my mind.
I think Moore is going to shock people this year - kid is GOOD! DelZaster can't keep the pick in the zone, can't hit the net and gives up more odd man rushes that Debbie does Dallas!