With the trade deadline just over a week away, the Flyers are in position similar to last year where they dealt away Vinny Lecavalier and Luke Schenn, they’re sellers, who can sell and still potentially make the playoffs. This year isn’t about selling and tanking, but rather, cutting dead weight and opening up room for better players. As such, when doing this year’s series, I intend to keep that in mind, meaning that core-type players like Brayden Schenn will not be covered until the offseason. As such, as shown in the title, we’re starting with Michael Del Zotto.
Michael Del Zotto is an interesting case, once considered a stud defender in the making when drafted by the Rangers, he fell out of favor and was traded to Nashville where his struggles continued. Then came a Kimmo Timonen medical situation which led to MDZ signing with the Flyers as an emergency fill-in prior to the start of the 2014-15 season.
From emergency signing, Del Zotto earned himself a two year extension and, before injuries shortened his 2015-16 season, emerged as a top pair option when paired with Radko Gudas. This season, Del Zotto has delivered some mixed results, however his top pair ability has shown in limited time with Shayne Gostisbehere.
Chart via HockeyViz
In terms of raw scoring, he’s far behind his normal pace, but per hockey-reference, MDZ has a 96.8 PDO as of this writing.
The low PDO indicates Del Zotto should turn his game around soon enough, if he gets the minutes to do so. This is especially true if he’s paired with a defender similar to Ghost.
The Boston Bruins, having missed the playoffs in back to back seasons will be looking to get back on track in that regard, especially given their aging core. Del Zotto would be helpful as a depth rental who could spell the oft-injured defenders of John-Michael Liles and Adam McQuaid. He’s also likely an upgrade over Kevan Miller.
The Flyers likely won’t get much for MDZ, a first round pick is likely a pipe dream. However, given the weakness of this draft, a second is possible, or a mid level prospect. One real steal on the prospect side could be Danton Heinen.
The Edmonton Oilers are another team in need of defense help. In their case, given their ability to repeatedly pick first overall, mid-level prospects are likely out of the question, but given their desire to make the playoffs after a long absence from the post-season, getting them to turn over what should be a mid-late round first round pick in the 15-25 range is unlikely, but not impossible. That said, once again, a second round pick is most likely.
In terms of trading Del Zotto, in theory, it should open a spot up for Travis Sanheim to come up up from the AHL.