Oct 3, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto (4) shoots the puck during the second period against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Del Zotto to the Islanders? Makes Sense.

See that? Best friends already.. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders are hurting on defense. Lubomir Visnovsky remains out of the lineup with a concussion. Brian Strait has missed over half of the season with an upper-body injury. Thomas Hickey left Saturday’s game in Philadelphia with a lower-body injury, and a timetable for his return is expected to be announced later today.

The team’s defensive unit has been devastated early on into the 2013-14 season, and the group of players the team has been forced to go to war with has been manhandled on the ice, as a result.

For a few days now, Arthur Staple has reported that Garth Snow, the team’s General Manager, has been working the phones to find help – a defenseman who “a) is more than just a spare part; and b) won’t cost him a prime player or prospect.” Obviously, that’s not easy to come by –Staple mentioned that a whopping total of zero (0) top defensemen have been moved this season – however, the Islanders’ beat writer offered a suggestion: the team could go after Michael Del Zotto, the New York Rangers’ young, but available, defenseman.

Lay down your arms, Isles fans. Sure, it would mean a trade between two cross-town rivals. It would mean the Islanders and Rangers would have to communicate beyond their game-day “compliments.” As Staple also suggests, though, it should be kicked around and discussed, especially if it makes sense. It makes a lot of sense.

The fit is there. The Islanders are ailing on the defensive side of the ice. The Rangers are hurting on the offensive side of the ice. The Islanders are struggling mightily in their own zone. The Rangers are struggling mightily in the opposition’s zone. The Islanders can’t keep the puck out of their net, and the Rangers can’t put the puck in anybody else’s.

You get the point.

Del Zotto, 23, has struggled this season, but he also fits the criteria of what the Islanders are currently lacking. The Rangers defenseman is an offensive defenseman with the ability to man the power play (the Islanders power play has fell off the map since Visnovsky’s injury) and move the puck, specifically out of the defensive zone. The Islanders defensemen have been giveaway-machines this season, but Del Zotto would be able to improve the team’s transition game, especially with play moving away from the Islanders side of the ice.

He also fits the Islanders recent mold of talent – former first-round picks looking for a new start. Del Zotto was the 20th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft that has already succeeded at the NHL-level (he recorded 37 points in 2009-10, and 41 points in 2011-12).

He’s also “tight” with Islanders captain John Tavares – Staple also mentions how they played three seasons together for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.

Of course, the trade would mean the Islanders would have to move one of their forwards, but that shouldn’t be a problem considering the team’s abundance of them. Most likely, the Rangers would have their choosing of a limited group – my guess would be Michael Grabner or Pierre-Marc Bouchard – but that would be left up to Snow and Co.

While nothing is certain, a Del Zotto trade is certainly worth kicking the tires on from an Islanders perspective.

Thoughts on a Del Zotto trade?


Tags: HOCKEY New York Islanders NHL Nhl Puck Drop

  • Ponce

    PMB and a pick might work. But I would be weary to give up Grabner, especially to a division rival.

    • Chris Triantafilis

      Weary, yes, but only so long we can “hope” for him to score. What has he done this season?

    • Ben

      Rangers have no need for Bouchard, even with the pick attached they could get a better deal or just hold on to MDZ. And if Snow is willing to give up Grabner I think the Rangers run away laughing with joy. 3 lines with Kreider, Hagelin, and Grabner would give teams fits.

      • Chris Triantafilis

        That it would. I don’t think PMB would be the guy moved, and I think it would be a deal involving more than just a one-for-one….but someone would obviously have to move.

  • http://www.stevelafleur.com Steve Lafleur

    I sincerely hope they don’t entertain moving Grabner.

    • Chris Triantafilis

      What has Grabner done this season?

      • Ken Meoni

        I think with Grabner, you have to look at what happens on the ice because of his speed. He opens up the ice for others. I don’t think you can just look at his scoring stats. If they trade Grabner, they lose the fastest skater on the team. Maybe they can trade C. McDonald. Cappy seems to think he is great, the way he keeps giving him chances on the second line. How about throwing in Clutterbuck. :)

        • Chris Triantafilis

          Speed only takes you so far, though. I like Grabner – always have. He needs to contribute more than just “opening the ice” on a line that also isn’t scoring goals.

          C. McDonald could also be moved. Clutterbuck will be here for a long time.

  • nbw

    What is Delzotto’s contract?, ie UFA? If not, I would have no issue trading PMB, Regin, CC, and yes MG for him. While I appreciate MG speed and talent…the reality is he is does not score consistantly, our PK is the worse in the league and if we have talented forwards coming up, we can use the spot for Lee, Kirill, Strome and others. Outside of a 15 game hotstreak last year, this team is a below 500 team and certainly not a PO team . If we do not do a drastic upgrade of our blueline now, this season will be over before Hannukah ends (and that is in 10 days!) And there is no way Vaneck resigns with a team as bad as the Sabres….so we need to win and win now!

    • Chris Triantafilis

      Expires this summer, but believe he is an RFA. Certainly won’t be entitled to a big raise from his $2.25M right now. Isles can move some forwards (including prospects), but again, must be for long-term pieces.

  • Johnny Dangerously

    MDZ for Grabner would be a fair trade. Both need a new start. Delzotto’s hands are like bricks right now every time he touches the puck. They need to move him on this road trip before he gets back to the garden and gets the Poti/Rozsival treatment.

    • Chris Triantafilis

      I think it would be more than a one-for-one swap, but I think that’s the starting point, for sure.

  • http://bluelinestation.com/ Andrew Graziano

    You guys can have him!

  • cop

    the Isles need to put Okposo back with Bailey and Franz. KO would put life back in Baileys game and that is the line that put life into the team last year. Move Grabby up with JT and countryman Vanek. Those 2 would help turn Grabby around and you would have 2 lines scoring consistently which would make the problems on DEF minimized until Visnovsky gets back. the bottom 2 lines can be mixed and matched and be able to contribute enough to keep the team moving in the right direction. I can’t believe the coaching staff hasn’t figured this out yet

    • joepro2112

      So true. Cappy has been trying so many variations but yet doesn’t recognize (remember) that KO on the 2nd line with Bailey & Nielsen worked well. Putting Grabs on the top line with JT& Vanek will (should) provide more desirable results from Grabner. Nelsen has performed well enough on the top line to not warrant being a healthy scratch and should be on the 3rd line with Regin and PMB/Clutterbuck, leaving a 4th line of Martin, Cizikas and C. McDonald/Clutterbuck.
      I could see either Colin McD or PMB used in a trade for a D-man.

    • Paul LaLima

      You are absolutely right. I mentioned the same scenario in a another thread. Coaching is becoming as much a problem as playing.

    • Chris Triantafilis

      I never wanted that line to split, and I’m shocked that they haven’t been put together yet.

  • Pingback: Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 11/26/13 - Eyes On Isles - A New York Islanders Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More

  • LIslanders

    D-men mentioned as being available are: Nikita Nikitin (CBJ), Alec Martinez (LA), Francois Bouillon (MON) and Dmitry Kulikov (FLA).

    Aren’t there some teams out there that need a winger and/or who are near
    the cap who have enough D-men in their system to consider trading one of
    their higher paying free agents to be (such as Carolina, Tampa Bay, Flyers,
    Minnesota, Sharks).
    Wouldn’t some/any of players like Hainsey, Faulk, Pitkanin, Lee, Suster, Barbiero, Gustafsson, Mezaros, Stoner, Prosser, Hannon or Demers be trade-able and worth considering trading for?

    Or are they all not worthy of consideration, relative to the Isles current situation?

    What about Franson? I thought that Toronto was considering trading him.

    Or is that not the case?

    If he is still to be under consideration by Toronto, what is it that Toronto is looking for in return?

    • Chris Triantafilis

      The issue right now is that Garth Snow is no longer in a position of strength. From the reports out there, teams are asking for an arm and leg for the types of Dmen mentioned above. No matter the situation, Garth will not give up the world for an injury replacement.

      • LIslanders

        True. Apparently it seems as though none of the teams that would be willing to part with a D-man are in any dire need of a winger as much as the Isles are in need of a D-man.

        Of course that figures.