It's About Creating Balance: Del Zotto Reaction
Make it back-to-back Wednesdays that Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile has pulled the trigger on a trade. But unlike last week’s trade that brought goaltender Devan Dubnyk to Nashville, which added depth to the Preds goaltending pool, this Wednesday’s trade was all about creating balance on the blue line.
An often understated fact is that things seem to flow more smoothly when defensive pairings are balanced with left- and- right-handed players. For most of the season, Nashville has been playing with at least one pairing that was unbalanced – be it righty-righty or lefty-lefty.
Del Zotto, who is coming from a situation in New York where he too was playing on the wrong side, so this is move that should benefit both clubs. Whether he will play with Jones or Ellis is yet to be determined, but Preds fans won’t have to wait long, as Del Zotto will be available to play tomorrow night in Vancouver.
Another key aspect of Wednesday’s trade was creating offensive opportunity. It’s not a secret that Nashville has struggled to score goals. Going into Wednesday night’s tilts, the Preds rank 24th in the League in goals per game (2.43). That’s a far cry from where they’ve been in recent seasons and from where other playoff-bound teams stand.
Del Zotto also helps to solve the scoring issue. While his numbers this year are slightly down from his career averages – he’s posted 11 points (2g-9a) in 42 games this season – he is only a season removed from posting 21 points (3g-18a) in 46 games, and two seasons removed from notching 41 points (10g-31a) in 77 games in 2011-12. While the Preds may have lost in a steady stay-at-home defenseman in Klein, they gain all kinds of offensive potential in Del Zotto.
Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to snap a player back into form, and for Del Zotto, his form is that of an offensive defenseman that can help Nashville climb back into playoff contention.