Targeting Del Zotto

Michael Del Zotto fires the game winner past Braden Holtby. 5/12/12 (via NHLVideo)

As we all know, the Senators' depth on defence leaves something to be desired. Aside from Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen, there isn't much else youthful substance on that blue line. After last year's draft, where the lack of quality forward prospects was addressed, we can surely expect some defencemen to be coming Ottawa's way on June 22nd and/or 23rd. While names like Suter, Carle and Garrisson have been tossed around due to their upcoming free agency, there's also the trade route.

The New York Rangers are a cap ceiling team and are projected to have $16,441,666 in cap space next year while trying to fill 7 essential roster spots. While this may seem entirely plausible (and it is, depending on how Sather goes about his business), much like the Ottawa Senators, they need to keep the future in mind. With big names like Gaborik ($7,500,000 cap hit) and Richards ($6,666,667 cap hit) already on their roster, up-and-coming players that will command big contracts (McDonagh and Hagelin, whose contracts both expire after next season) and names like Kreider, Erixon and McIlrath on the way, that cap space can disappear quite quickly. Michael Del Zotto's ELC expires this year and he's due for a raise. On top of all this, the New York Rangers have yet another coveted prospect coming up on the blue line -- Tim Erixon. Erixon can't be kept in the AHL forever and would best develop being given top-4 minutes. With Girardi, Staal and McDonagh already locked into their top-4, there's only one spot remaining for Del Zotto and Erixon -- could Del Zotto be the odd one out?

Let's take a look at Del Zotto's statistics from this past regular season, shall we?

While there's certainly room for improvement, he plays decent minutes against decent opponents. The negative Corsi could perhaps be attributed to the Rangers' willingness to collapse around Lundqvist and block shots. A 9.89 Sh% is pretty good and would certainly be an upgrade on Ottawa's 9.36% (to put it in perspective, Karlsson had a Sh% of 9.58). When he's on the ice, Lundqvists's SV% is 927, which doesn't speak well to all his critics saying he's a defensive liability (sound familiar?) seeing as Lundqvist's SV% on the season was 930. His PDO is quite high, which technically suggests his play should regress next year, but that is far from a certainty. His zone starts also suggest he isn't the slightest bit sheltered, which further speaks to his defensive ability (especially when it's Tortorella calling the shots).

With the future defensive pairings being touted as one puck-moving defenceman and one stay-at-home defencemen, I feel Del Zotto would make an excellent second pairing defenceman. He would also fit right in with Ottawa's young core moving forward and allow whatever prospects we draft this year some real time to develop. Unfortunately, he isn't the partner we're looking for Karlsson to play with and our blue line would be quite expensive for next year assuming the pairings are:

Del Zotto-Cowen

The question is: how much would it take to get Del Zotto? Hockey's Future had him ranked as an 8.0B, which I don't think he has quite lived up to. It took the Rangers two second round picks to pick up Erixon, what is Del Zotto worth? I think Murray could package some prospects and picks for him, but it still begs the question if it's worth it.

What would it take to get him? Is he worth it? How much would he sign for? Would you be against a similar move for another player? What do you guys think?

This FanPost was written by a member of the Silver Seven community, and does not necessarily reflect the beliefs or opinions of the site managers, editors, or Sports Blogs Nation, Inc.

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