While then-rookie Tyler Myers was last season’s biggest surprise among first-year defenseman, offensive blueliner Michael Del Zotto wasn’t far behind. Although his -20 rating in 2009-10 indicated that he had a lot to learn, he still produced an impressive nine-goal, 28-assist season for the New York Rangers.
Call it a sophomore slump or just reality setting in after a dream season, but this season hasn’t been nearly as promising for the high-risk, high-reward defenseman. After playing in all but two of the team’s games last year, Del Zotto only appeared in 47 games with the big club, as injuries and two demotions to the AHL indicated that he has some serious room for improvement.
Things are going to get a little tougher for Del Zotto, as Steve Zipay reports that he will be sidelined for four to six weeks after fracturing a finger during a game with the AHL’s Connecticut Whale.
It seems like his confidence might be shaken after a rough season, so perhaps the time off will give him time to get his mind right. Giving up on him now would be pretty silly, considering how young he is (20 years old) and his considerable offensive upside.