When the New York Rangers take on the Montreal Canadiens tonight, Michael Del Zotto will be a healthy scratch. Tonight will mark the second time this season that head coach Alain Vigneault has been displeased with Del Zotto enough to bench him, and the scratch has the rumor-sphere abuzz with talk that the young defenseman could be on the move in the near future.
#rangers Michael Del Zotto will be a healthy scratch Saturday in MTL. Don’t know if his future is in NY. Hearing trade is a possibility.
— Renaud Lavoie (@LavoieRenaud) November 15, 2013
Del Zotto spoke to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News about his status as a healthy scratch for tonight’s contest:
I’m not happy. Obviously you’re never happy when you’re out of the lineup, but it’s the coach’s decision, and like I’ve said all along, I’m going to come to the rink with a smile on my face. I’m happy to be here and will try to work hard each day and try to get better.
With his minutes in steady decline and his role on both sides of the puck dwindling, the writing might be on the wall for Del Zotto. At this juncture though, what’s the blueliner worth on the trade market? He doesn’t bring much to the table on offense or defense in his current state, and his play has steadily gotten worse instead of better over the last two seasons.
Is there a team out there that’s willing to take a risk on Del Zotto and his expiring contract? As always, it really amounts to what the Rangers are hoping to squeeze out of him. If they’re looking for a draft pick or something along those lines, a deal could happen. Still, only 10 or 11 teams in the league could afford to take on Del Zotto’s cap hit, so would the Rangers be forced to take on some of his salary for the remainder of the year?
It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out, but at this point it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rangers cut their losses while moving a player they don’t appear ready to re-sign over the summer.