Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 11/20/14

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 05: Michael Del Zotto #4 of the New York Rangers skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 5, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The player review you've all been waiting for. Michael Del Zotto was and still is one of the more debated names on the New York Rangers roster amongst fans. His offensive smarts that are sometimes hidden by his defensive blunders have the fan base split when it comes to the 22-year-old from Ontario, Canada. As a current restricted free agent, he's a name we will be hearing a lot from now until September. Unless, of course, he is gone by then. 

The Good: Michael Del Zotto made great strides this season as compared to his last, finishing fifth on the team in scoring with ten goals and 41 points. His offensive game has improved majorly and even grew stronger as the year progressed. From that standpoint, Michael was great, helping to lead the rush and create offense. Also overlooked was his plus-20 overall rating, which is fantastic for an offensive-minded defenseman in today's NHL. 

As compared to 2010-11, Del Zotto made tremendous progress in his game to prove that he belongs at the NHL level this past season. He's no longer a player who will borderline the NHL and AHL, possibly having to start over from the beginning. He's finally found his game, or at least half of it, and gained some trust out of the coaching staff and fans. He's dynamic when it comes to the offensive side of things. 

The Bad: On defense, however, that is not so much the case with DZ. While his offensive game greatly improved, his defensive game remained the same, if not grew worse. He's fortunate that his assists outweigh the number of goals against he was out for this season, otherwise he'd have some ugly numbers up on the board. And the frustrating part of it is that a majority of Michael's mistakes on D are the result of mental failures. Whether it is pinching at the wrong time, getting caught in no-man's land or not protecting the crease, it's all preventable with a little thinking. 

Oh, and the postseason was a complete disaster for Michael. He was clearly nervous, he was constantly coughing up the puck and lacked any sort of confidence that could've helped him fight through it. Again, the Rangers cannot afford to have top contributors during the regular season suddenly fall off into nothing when the playoffs roll around. That is far too costly, especially on defense. 

Oh, and he tweets wayyyy too much. He thinks 'Ja Rule' is still a relevant music artist. Just saying. 

Highlight of the Year:

 

Overall Assessment: With Del Zotto, you must take the good with the bad. He'll give you offense from the back-end, but he is not the most reliable player when it comes to defending. At this point, he isn't expected to give the team strong defense, but rather contribute on the scoreboard and help to create scoring chances off the rush - which he has shown that he can do quite well. Del Zotto is a restricted free agent and just this past week was qualified by the team. We'll see where negotiations go from here, but if the Rangers somehow land this Schultz kid, that likely means the end of DZ on Broadway. 

Report Card Grade: B

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

John Harbaugh: Bill Belichick is best coach of this century

Brandon Jennings suffers horrific Achilles injury

Van Gundy rips Bulls management about Thibs

Harbaugh lands first commitment at Michigan

NFL warns Seahawks about 'obscene gestures'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lane Kiffin will remain with Alabama in 2015

Belichick: Patriots followed 'every rule' prepping footballs

Colts LB Andrew Jackson arrested on DUI charge

Sam Shields: Dez Bryant catch should have counted

Klay Thompson sets NBA record with 37 pts in a quarter

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passes away

WATCH: Urban, OSU students send message to Mark May

The five best Super Bowl matchups ever

WATCH: Mike Riley gets big welcome at Nebraska game

Leonard Fournette's brother commits to LSU

Bledsoe not happy about other QBs trashing Brady

Red Sox P Joe Kelly predicts he will win Cy Young Award

WATCH: Bill Belichick drops 'My Cousin Vinny' reference

USC sends recruit personalized business cards

Coastal Carolina planning to install teal-colored field

The five most significant Super Bowls of all time

WATCH: J.R. Smith, LeBron half-court alley oop

Sesame Street makes "inflate" the word of the day

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jennings suffers horrific injury

Harbaugh lands first commitment

Seahawks GM: I love Lynch's act

Lane Kiffin staying with Alabama

Belichick goes 'My Cousin Vinny'

Belichick: Patriots followed 'every rule'

Could Patriots have used a sauna?

Klay Thompson scores 37 pts in a quarter

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passes away

Sesame Street makes "inflate" the word of the day

Which NBA player should get next on a signature shoe deal?

NFL's Deflategate statement doesn't say much

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.