Michael Del Zotto, 23, a homegrown New York Ranger drafted 20th overall in the 2008 draft, was traded to the Nashville Predators for Kevin Klein, 29, a homegrown Predator second-round pick in 2003. Klein, is in the first season of a five-year, $14.5 million deal that carries a salary-cap hit of $2.9 million. Del Zotto is going to be a restricted free agent with salary arbitration rights this off-season at the end of a two-year, $5.1 million deal. According to the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross, Del Zotto’s agents reportedly met with Rangers general manager for life, Glen Sather, in Toronto on January 4th to discuss his future with the Rangers. The entire season (and most of his career as a Ranger) he was embroiled in trade speculation.
The Good: Klein is a right-handed shot (Del Zotto was a left-handed shot), which means that the Rangers’ John Moore can switch back to his natural left side, as he had switched to the right because Del Zotto couldn’t.
Del Zotto is a little bit more offensively-minded which will be good for the Preds this season with the trouble they have been having scoring goal.
For the Rangers, this is good because according to Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN)
Sather: “Having a player of (Klein’s) caliber under contract to 34 makes sense to us especially with the way the market’s going.” #NYR
Also, it makes sense as far as the Rangers are going too. A stronger D on the right side will do a lot to help keep Henrik Lundqvist’s numbers up.
The good for Del Zotto? As a Devils fan who has watched him grow up since he was a 19 year old rookie, I think not having the bright lights of Broadway and having a smaller media contingent will help him flourish. This is not me saying that the Preds (or Perds) have no media because I hate the idea that somehow New York City is the End All To Be All — but I can’t help but admit that sometimes it’s insane for a fan, I couldn’t even imagine for a hockey player. So, I hope Del Zotto does good in Nashville.
The Bad: Klein more then likely took his 5-year/$14.5 million deal as a ‘home’ advantage this summer for the Nashville Predators to try and recoup some of their finacial loses between Suter leaving for Minnosota and Shea Weber’s deal to stay out of Philadelphia for 14 year/$110 million. He could’ve and should’ve gotten more and now the Rangers have him for the next 4 years.
Both Klein & Del Zotto have historically either been inconsistent / streaky players in their careers: Klein’s scouting report & Del Zotto’s. Now Klein won’t have a Shea Weber with him and Del Zotto won’t have a Ryan Callahan.
The Ugly (or my thoughts): Everything hurts and hockey is stupid. As I’ve written before — trades are terrible because they uproot both the families (hockey family counts as well as actual family) and fans from their favorite players. Sometimes, it’s a good fit (like I hope this will be for both players) but at the same time, selfishly, you never want to see your favorite player traded — especially to either a team that you hate because they are your rival (Rangers) or because you won’t be able to watch your favorite player that often any more as you are outside of their market (Predators).
And while Del Zotto wasn’t my favorite of the so-called rookie crop of Rangers that all started around the same time (my favorite was traded to Montreal a few seasons ago), Kevin Klein most certainly was my favorite Nashville Predator as I wrote about during the last lockout: [about Kim Staal] Klein has been imply just how good friends they are (which is totally cool since it always seems like all of the Preds players Klein is super friendly with seem to get traded away).
It’s sad that this time it wasn’t one of his friends, but now finally him.
Also, another factor as to why I’m still angry almost 36 hours after learning about the trade? According to a very good interview by Andrew Gross, Kevin Klein knew he was traded and only found out/figured out where because Shea Weber saw the name he was being traded for first:
“(But) I didn’t know: I honestly had no clue, my wife and I were kind of guessing,” Klein added. “She was a little distraught because we’ve got two young boys and it was up in the air, ‘Where are we going?’ But the New York Rangers have been nothing but help, the guys taking care of me, offering assistance with the family. (My family will) stay in Nashville until the (Olympic) break, we’ve got a 4 1/2 year old, a 1 1/2 year old, not to disrupt them too much, then we’ll make arrangements.
“I was texting with Webby, saying goodbye, wishing him well and then he told me I was traded for Del Zotto so, I was like, ‘Oh, OK, I guess it’s the Rangers,’ Klein said. “And then David called me back a little later.”
I’d expect a little bit better for the player who spent his entire career as someone who never rocked the boat, but sometimes hockey really is just a job.
Also, On The Forecheck has a great post about Klein’s greatest hits that include fights, goals and internet disagreements about him.
Both players are jumping right in and are playing for their new teams tonight — the Rangers host the St. Louis Blues and the Nashville Predators are in Calgary to play the Flames.