Coming off one of the worst years — if not the worst — of his NHL career, Michael Del Zotto isn’t sure about his future with the Nashville Predators.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” the pending RFA said, per The Tennessean. “Obviously I’m not too happy with how this year has gone for me. I have high expectations for myself, and being traded here I wanted to prove I could play to the best of my ability and how I had in the past.
“We’ll see what happens this summer and just take it one day at a time.”
Del Zotto, 23, was acquired by Nashville in January in exchange for Kevin Klein but failed to make much of an impact with the Preds, scoring just one goal and five points in 25 games, finishing with a minus-4 rating while spending time as a healthy scratch. Ex-Preds head coach Barry Trotz questioned Del Zotto’s intensity level and noted his play slipped not long after being acquired.
As such, the pending Del Zotto negotiations figure to be tricky — as they usually are with restricted free agents.
Two years ago, the future looked pretty bright for MDZ; he racked up a career-high 41 points — as a 21-year-old — and finished 12th in Norris voting, ahead of Duncan Keith. He was playing big minutes and parlayed that into a two-year, $5.1 million extension with the Rangers, signed just prior to the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.
Now, though, some of that luster has worn off. His defensive issues have been well-documented and he’s failed to impress each of his last two coaches, Trotz and Alain Vigneault. So it’ll be curious to see what kind of offer Preds GM David Poile tables this summer.
All that said, it’s worth noting that Del Zotto appears to like playing in Nashville.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’ve only been here 2½ months,” Dhe explained. “The guys have been great to me, the organization has been unbelievable.”