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

Hernandez allegedly shot friend after fight over strip club bill

Report: Andre Johnson requests to be traded or released

James Harden suspended for groin kick to LeBron James

Mark Cuban will play the President in 'Sharknado 3'

Five most exciting one-bid conference tournaments

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Redskins interested in Ndamukong Suh

Report: Darrelle Revis likely to hit free agent market

Le'Veon Bell could face up to a four-game suspension

Report: Giants place franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul

Vikings GM: Team has spoken with Adrian Peterson

Yu Darvish on notion he quit on Rangers: ‘That’s BS‘

Who received franchise tags at the deadline and who did not

WATCH: Whiteside, Len ejected after getting into wrestling match

WATCH: Texas-Baylor fight leads to seven ejections

Nik Stauskas wears Michigan State gear after lost bet

Bret Bielema takes away player's car after DUI

NHL player traded after daughter's heartbreaking letter

Curt Schilling unloads on Twitter trolls again

Pirates Corey Hart cut his foot getting into a whirlpool

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter, jabs Clemson

Michael Jordan makes his first Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young rips ESPN anchor over Iggy Azalea insult

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

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

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

MJ makes Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young fires back at Robert Flores

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos to franchise Demaryius

James Harden kicks LeBron in groin

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.