Draft Prospect - 2016
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Michael Zotto
North American Skater
Oshawa, OHL
Final Rank:  15 Midterm Rank:  14
Position:  Defenseman Shoots:  Left
Height:  6' 0" Weight:  211
Born:  June 24, 1990    
Birthplace:  North York, ON, CAN

On his style of play:  Definitely being an offensive defenseman is what I like to do.  I love quarterbacking the power-play.  Jumping up in the rush and kind of surprising the other team, catch them off guard and create some offense.  I love handling the puck and using my vision to make strong passes.  I'm trying to work on my game right now to be an all-around defenseman.


On patterning his game after Bobby Orr and Scott Niedermayer: There are a couple of players I like to look at.  But all-time my favorite hockey player is Bobby Orr. And growing up I've been watching the Best of Bobby Orr tapes.  But right now it is Scott Niedermayer.  I was so happy that he came out of retirement and came back to play with Anaheim. He's such an unbelievable player and I love watching him play.


On getting his start in hockey:  My family is a hockey playing family. My dad grew up playing the game.  I started skating around the age of three and by five, I started getting into hockey.  And my brother started around that time.  Ever since I started playing I had passion for the game.  I loved playing it.  And I kept it going until now.


On having an older brother to compete with:  (My brother is) three years older.  Growing up having an older brother is pretty competitive.  We had the backyard rink going every winter and we had some pretty fierce competition out there.


On developing on the backyard rink:  Definitely it helped me out, not only on the ice, but mentally it helped me out so much.  Any time I was frustrated with things and needed to get away from it, I'd go to the backyard rink.  That was my place to get away from things and settle down, and just worry about hockey and let everything get away.


On his most memorable hockey gift:  I remember when we first had the backyard rink we had an old plastic hockey net that we used for road hockey and it wasn't working too well -- we were putting holes in the mesh with the pucks.  One Christmas my brother and I got a real steel hockey net and we still have it to this day, and I'll never forget that day.


On his favorite childhood ‘Stanley Cup’ memory:  Bobby Orr scoring that goal flying through the air is a moment I've always got in my head.  And maybe one day I can do that myself.


On player for the Markham Waxers:  We had such a great team. Great group of guys, great coaching staff, you know, Paul Titanic, and Adam they were so good to us.  They knew the game and helped us out so much.  Just the team chemistry was unbelievable.  Everybody got along.  Every time we came to the rink, we were a big family.  And of course, Steve Stamkos is an unbelievable player.  We worked out together, hang out a lot.


On playing against long time friend Steven Stamkos:   You want to one up him and do better than him.  But we're best of friends off the ice.  Once we got on the ice, we have no friends.  We had a couple of collisions in a game this year and a couple of run-ins.  But we had a smile on our face when the game was over.


On his thoughts about the upcoming Draft:  Definitely it's really exciting being able to hopefully get drafted by the NHL.  It's a dream come true.  It's what I've wanted to do my whole life.  It's been a dream of mine. And, obviously there is a lot of pressure looking up in the stands and seeing all the scouts with their notepads out, wondering what they're thinking when you make a mistake or a good play.  So you want to put that in the back of your head.  I want to go out and play my game, and hopefully they'll like the way I play.


On becoming a defenseman:  My first five years I started off as a forward and when I moved over to play for Markham, I switched to a defenseman.  That's kind of how I get my offensive defenseman skill kind of going.


On shutting down the opponent’s top players:  I've found the best way to shut down a player is not having them have the puck and kind of keeping the puck away from them -- maybe keep it on my stick instead of theirs.  Kind of make them shut me down.  Just whenever they have the puck, whenever I get a chance to play the body on them and make them not want to come back into my corner.


On what motivates him to continue to improve:  There are a lot of things that have occurred lately.  One, I didn't make it to the World Junior camp to get a tryout there and that just added more motivation.  Some of the Central Scouting rankings and seeing the other guys doing so well, I'm happy for them, but it makes me motivated and want to do better and do the best I can.


On being a smaller defenseman:  Well, I know if they've come to see a game, they can see I can kind of throw my weight around.  That's one of the aspects of having my game.  I like to throw my weight around, make some bone-crushing hits that I can contribute offensively. 


On his superstitions:  Well, usually before every game I do the exact same routine every single day.  There's not really anything special.  I put my equipment on the exact same way every time -- the exact same time.  I switched it up a bit this year just because I had a rough start to the year.  So I kind of switched things up hoping it would change my luck, but nothing really too special.


On spending time away from the rink:  I'm kind of the guy that gets the boys laughing -- kind of the sense of humor guy.  And I like to keep the boys loose.  We have fun playing video games and hanging out and just having some laughs.


On wearing number four:  I wear number four because of Bobby Orr.  He was my favorite player growing up.  I used to watch tapes of him all the time.  He was my dad's favorite player, and he passed it on to me, and it's been a tradition.


On his most embarrassing hockey moment:  One time I was running a hockey camp with one of my assistant coaches and all the kids were excited to see me there.  This is when I just got drafted into the OHL, and I was demonstrating a drill and wiped out and they kind of laughed at me, and I got a little red.


On his favorite player: My favorite hockey player is Scott Niedermayer because he can create offense from the back end, and I like to model my game after him.


On the one movie he would choose to be in:  If I could be in one movie I would be in any kind of movie with Denzel Washington.  He's my favorite actor.  I think he's unbelievable, and it would be a pleasure to be with him.


On his favorite goal celebration: My favorite goal celebration is going down on one knee and sweeping the ice and finishing with the fist pump.  And then I still have a trick up my sleeve right now, waiting for an overtime goal, and I'm going to moon walk through the neutral zone and surprise everybody.





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


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
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33