On Monday, the St. Louis Blues announced that they traded a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft to the Anaheim Ducks for defenceman Michael Del Zotto. This move doesn’t make sense to a lot of Blues fans. But, it is a good depth move for the Blues, especially with the injury to defenceman Carl Gunnarsson.
Michael Del Zotto’s Career
This is Del Zotto’s 10th NHL season. He was drafted 20th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2008 NHL Draft. He has also played for the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks and the Ducks. In 601 career games, Del Zotto has 54 goals and 164 assists for 218 points. He also has 218 penalty minutes.
This season, he played for both the Canucks and the Ducks. In 35 games, he has one goal and six assists for seven points. He has also had eight penalty minutes. His possession numbers are 49.9 percent and a relative Corsi of 2.1, which is more than his career possession numbers of 49.4 percent and a relative Corsi of -0.4.
Michael Del Zotto Provides Depth For the Blues
Michael Del Zotto did not play on Tuesday night in the Blues 2-0 victory over the Predators. Instead, the defensive pairings were:
Bortuzzo took over for Chris Butler who played in the Blues’ 2-1 overtime loss on Sunday. The Blues have since sent Butler down to San Antonio in the AHL.
Del Zotto shoots left just like Gunnarsson, who has been injured since Feb. 5. With less than 20 games to go until the playoffs, it is smart to have another option on defence. This is the time of year where a lot of mistakes get made defensively because players are tired. This could give Dunn, who is only in his second NHL season, a night off here and there to make sure he doesn’t get too tired to play well in the playoffs. Del Zotto has the ability to be the small change the Blues need to continue to win and stay in a playoff spot.
Del Zotto played on the same team as Pietrangelo when they were kids. It will be interesting to see if head coach Craig Berube decides to put them together again or test out the chemistry between Del Zotto and other Blues defencemen.
What it Means for the Future
Obviously, Del Zotto does not score a lot or have the best statistics on the team, but the Blues were so close to the cap that they were lucky that they could afford Del Zotto. If they were to have gotten anyone bigger, they might have had to trade away one of the players that have been essential to the Blues success this season, which could have led to a line with bad chemistry. The Blues cannot afford that right now. Right now, every point counts. Every game counts. Risking anyone who has helped the Blues climb the standings this season is not worth getting a better defenceman than Del Zotto. In this case, making a safer move by only trading away a sixth-round draft pick seems like the smartest move for the Cup-hungry Blues.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 12: Michael Del Zotto #4 of the Vancouver Canucks smiles before a face off against the New York Rangers in the first period at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)