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NHL rumors: Rangers may be looking to trade Michael Del Zotto

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Michael Del Zotto could be on the move soon. (USATSI)
Michael Del Zotto could be on the move soon. (USATSI)

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New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto could be on the way out of the Big Apple according to Renaud Lavoie of the Montreal Gazette.

Del Zotto is slated to be a healthy scratch for the second time this season when the Rangers travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens and may not be meshing well with new head coach Alain Vigneault. The 23-year-old rearguard obviously isn't overly thrilled with another benching.

"I'm not happy," Del Zotto told the New York Daily News. "Obviously you're never happy when you're out of the lineup, but it's the coach's decision, and like I've said all along, I'm going to come to the rink with a smile on my face. I'm happy to be here and will try to work hard each day and try to get better."

It was expected that Del Zotto's more offensive-minded approach would fit better in Vigneault's system than former head coach John Tortorella, who put more of a premium on defensive play. That hasn't really materialized though as Del Zotto has four points in 16 games.

If the Rangers are shopping Del Zotto, it would be interesting to see what kind of return they would be able to get. In his fifth season, Del Zotto's contract, with its $2.55 million cap hit, expires at the end of this season.

Del Zotto signed that bridge contract after a career high 41 points in 77 games in 2011-12. He hasn't really played up to that level since. However, a change of scenery very well could help the former first-round pick get back on track, while getting the Rangers some fair value.

There are plenty of teams looking for defensive help and while Del Zotto's D-zone play remains suspect, even in a sheltered role, he could help some clubs with his offensive capabilities.

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