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Rangers, Predators swap defensemen

The SportsXchange

The New York Rangers and Nashville Predators exchanged defensemen on Wednesday, with Michael Del Zotto going from the Rangers to the Predators for defenseman Kevin Klein.

Del Zotto had been the subject of trade rumors since Allen Vigneault took over as Rangers coach after last season.

"Michael gives us another young, gifted left-handed shooting defenseman with significant offensive upside," Predators general manager David Poile said. "We look forward to his presence on our already talented young blue line, further balancing our defensive corps."

The 23-year-old Del Zotto, considered an offensive-minded defenseman, has 11 points (two goals, two assists) in 42 games this season.

In 292 career NHL games with the Rangers, Del Zotto has 121 points (26 goals, 95 assists), including 77 during the 2011-12 season. The Rangers' 2008 first-round draft pick was named to the NHL All-Rookie team after the 2009-10 season.

Del Zotto is in the final year of a two-year, $5.1 million contract and is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season..

Klein, 29, has battled a foot injury this season and has just three points in 47 games. He is known as a defense-first player, but scored a career-high 21 points in 66 games during the 2011-12 season.

Before the lockout last season, Klein signed a five-year, $14.5 million deal with a $2.9 million cap hit.

For the Predators, it was their second trade in the past week. Last Monday, Nashville traded forward Matt Hendricks to the Edmonton Oilers for goalie Devan Dubnyk.

In another roster move on Wednesday, the Predators recalled forward Taylor Beck from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. Beck leads the Admirals in points with 27 in 35 games.
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