David Poile whiffed.
It happens. Michael Del Zotto, whom the Nashville Predators acquired from the New York Rangers for steady D-man Kevin Klein, is a tantalizing player: a 24-year-old lefty and a 40-point offensive force with great potential.
But he didn’t work with Nashville. And now Nashville is moving on, opting not to give Del Zotto a qualifying offer. From The Tennessean:
The Predators are loaded with young defensemen, and Del Zotto is coming off a two-year $5.1 million contract. If Nashville were to make a qualifying offer to Del Zotto, it would have to be for at least the same as his most recent contract. That seems unlikely given the Predators' desire to clear salary as they revamp the roster.
The Predators acquired Del Zotto last year from the New York Rangers for Kevin Klein to give them a left-handed shooter. It simply didn't work out for the former 41-point scorer. He had just five points in 25 games with the Predators and found himself a healthy scratch several times.
"It was a good try," Poile said of the trade. "The disappointing part is Del Zotto is a good player, but right now he's miscast.”
Someone’s going to pay Del Zotto if he hits UFA status – there’s still a chance he could be traded before the frenzy begins. He was on a 2-year deal at $5.1 million. It’s hard to imagine someone with a need for a puck moving defenseman, a.k.a. the left-handed relievers of hockey, not taking a shot with Del Zotto.
However, is it fair to call this guy a “project” at this point?
He has 16 points and just three goals in his last 82 games. He had five in 25 games in Nashville. The reason he ended up there was because he was a liability in his own zone. So if that hasn’t changed, and he’s not scoring at the same clip, then what’s his actual value?