Fantasy Impact: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Michael Del Zotto to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Kevin Klein.
The Predators get: an underacheiving defenseman with high offensive upside. Del Zotto also likes to throw his body around. Or...rather, he used to. Check out his average hits per game by year:
Granted, this year's decline is related to a decline in ice time, but generally speaking it would seem that he has lost some of his urgency. A new team will help this. I don't profess to understand why the Preds made this move - they already have several puck-moving defensemen - but I'll withhold judgment until after the Trade Deadline. If Ryan Ellis or Mattias Ekholm are traded, then this deal makes a lot more sense.
The Rangers get: a defensive defenseman who will make less money next year than what Del Zotto will ask for. Klein also blocks about two shots per game, making him a pretty good asset in that area.
Fantasy Players Impacted: The departure of Del Zotto ensures that Dan Girardi starts seeing decent power-play time again. But the Rangers go with four forwards, for the most part, and the fifth man is Ryan McDonagh.
In Nashville, the picture isn't as clear. They did well to buy low on Del Zotto, but only if they in turn sell low on Ryan Ellis and make some room. Can this team move forward with Shea Weber, Del Zotto, Roman Josi, Seth Jones, Ellis and Ekholm? It doesn't really fit, so I see another move coming.
Right now, Josi and Weber own the power play. Would Barry Trotz break that up? Maybe just to try something new. But Josi is hot right now when it comes to production, and on the power play he has 10 of his 20 points. By comparison, Weber has 18 power-play points in seven more games. The two average about three minutes per game.
So other than a couple of games as a "trial", it's likely Del Zotto is on the second unit currently occupied by Seth Jones (2:10/game) and Ryan Ellis (1:54/game). Who is the odd man out? Jones has seven PP points, while Ellis has four. But Ellis hasn't had one in a month, so I suspect he's out.
Regardless of how poor a fit this is for Del Zotto, the fact is - any change will do. He's not playing inspired hockey. So that's either injury or attitude. If it's injury and he's not playing at 100 percent, then nothing will fix that. But if it's attitude, this move will spark a short-term surge.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Del Zotto
3. Second PP unit for the Preds
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order: