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Klein for Del Zotto

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 5:01 PM CT
By Stu Grimson - TV Analyst / Stu Grimson's Blog
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Today, the Predators traded mainstay defender Kevin Klein to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto. A few thoughts on the net impact on the Predators roster on the ice and in terms of the economics.

On the Ice

Klein was steady in his own end; a very capable defender slotted typically in the Preds’ second or third pairing. A hard-nosed player (see Antoine Roussel on 01.20.14) who was not afraid to activate up ice. Though “Kleiner” was not a person you looked to for offense consistently. A player like this will be missed; a great shot blocker and he could be a calming influence in your own end.

On the other hand, the most notable characteristic Del Zotto brings to the table is an upside up-ice. And for obvious reasons, David Poile is looking to boost production. Stepping into the Rangers roster directly out of the OHL, Del Zotto posted a remarkable 37 points, including nine goals, in 2009-10. In 2011-12, he set a career best scoring 10 goals while posting 41 total points. There’s lots to like here, providing Del Zotto is able to overcome the apparent sporadic play in his own end that saw him scratched from the Rangers lineup for several games earlier this season.

The Money

Klein is a fair value with a cap hit of $2.9m for this and the next four years. That number would be considered in range for a defenseman ranked anywhere from third to fifth on an NHL roster. So if you’re New York, you get cap certainty on a mainstay in your lineup.

Moving Klein gives you space today and going forward to make even significant adjustments to your lineup for a team that may be reconsidering whether it satisfactorily restored its identity last summer. Especially considering that you just moved Matt Hendricks and freed up nearly $5 million for the next three years in the aggregate.

Poile now has the cap (and budget) room to add key pieces up front if the right move presents itself – not to mention the flexibility to resign his newly-acquired defenseman if he proves to be a good fit. Del Zotto is a restricted free agent in the coming summer. He is apt to want something north of his current $2.5 million. However, Poile holds measurable leverage given that Del Zotto is coming off a lackluster first half and the Predators hold a right to match any other offer.

Taken together, the Hendricks/Klein transactions created significant cap space for 2014-15 and beyond. A not so subtle signal that other moves and/or signings are to come? Think so.

See you around the rink.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33