When the Nashville Predators acquired Michael Del Zotto from the New York Rangers in exchange for another defenseman (Kevin Klein), the general thinking fell in two general camps:
1. “Barry Trotz might be able to fix the man nicknamed Del Zaster.”
2. “It’s going to be a Del Zaster.”
Even with Trotz out of town, it seems like the Predators are acknowledging that it ended up being a disaster. OK, they didn’t use such harsh words; the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper reports that GM David Poile merely says that 24-year-old blueliner isn’t “a fit” in Nashville.
From the sound of things, the polarizing defenseman could see any number of fates:
This comes a day after it was revealed that the Predators were shopping him around the league, with this update indicating that they’re having trouble finding buyers. Back in March, the Preds made it clear that they believe his game “has slipped” and that feeling seemingly remains even with a different outlook via new head coach Peter Laviolette.
At this point, it’s difficult to see why one of the NHL’s other 29 teams wouldn’t just wait to grab Del Zotto via free agency rather than giving up assets to gain his rights.
As much criticism as his defensive prowess (probably fairly) receives, not many blueliners hit the free market at his age with his offensive resume (37 points as a rookie in 2009-10, a career-high 41 in 2011-12). It’s hard to fathom every team passing up on a possible “reclamation project” like MDZ.
It’s unlikely that the Predators will get anything for trouble – aside from the nearly $3 million in cap space that they garnered from dealing Klein – though.