Over at CBC Sports, Elliotte Friedman wonders if the Sharks may be interested in NYR defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Per the CBC Sports website:
As the Michael Del Zotto saga crawls towards its conclusion, wonder if San Jose is a “stealth” team in all of this. Last year, the Sharks scouted him pretty closely as the two teams talked trade (Ryane Clowe was eventually dealt to Manhattan). Couldn’t hurt for a young defenceman to learn under Larry Robinson.
– Elliotte Friedman
The 23-year-old offensive defenseman has found himself in new head coach Alain Vigneault’s doghouse this season, and he has been a healthy scratch on several occasions because AV does not think Del Zotto has cemented himself as a top 6 defenseman. This may make one skeptical, however past performances are indicative of the young defenseman’s abilities and future potential.
Drafted 20th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Del Zotto went on to become a regular for the Rangers in 2009-2010 at just 19 years old. In doing so, he became the youngest defenseman in New York Rangers history to play on opening night. He scored 9G-28A for 37 points in 80 games, ending his rookie season on a high note. However, he experienced the sophomore slump in its truest form, scoring only 11 points in 47 games, earning himself a demotion to the AHL for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season. He came back with a vengeance in 11-12, scoring a career-high 41 points, then following it up with 21 points in the lockout-shortened season in 2013. He also has 12 points in 32 total NHL playoff games.
Del Zotto has scored only 2 goals and 7 assists through 34 games so far this season, earning himself much criticism, including Vigneault’s “jittery with the puck” assessment. Regardless, the Rangers seem intent on trading their struggling defenseman before season’s end, and San Jose could be in the running. Del Zotto has another few years before he comes into his prime, and these struggles could just be the result of needing a change of scenery.