Saturday: Del Zotto was not claimed, reports Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch.
Friday: When the Ottawa Senators recalled Jacob Bernard-Docker, it seemed likely that someone was going to find themselves on waivers soon after. That someone is Michael Del Zotto, who was placed on waivers today according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.
Del Zotto, 31, signed a two-year contract with the Senators in the summer, one that carries a cap hit of $2MM. The team has received just ten games for their money to this point, scratching him several times instead of putting him in the lineup. The coaching staff obviously doesn’t trust the veteran defenseman, as several other options have been inserted over him and now kept as he is placed on waivers. Dillon Heatherington, for instance, could still have been sent down without having to clear waivers again.
So the question is now what does Del Zotto’s future look like in Ottawa? The team has already buried Matt Murray in the minor leagues for the time being, paying his full salary despite the goaltender suiting up for the Belleville Senators, not the ones in Ottawa. Will they do the same with Del Zotto, who is owed a salary of $1.75MM this season and $2.25MM next?
Part of that $2MM cap hit will be removed from the books for the Senators–$1.125MM to be exact–but for a team nowhere near the ceiling, that doesn’t really provide much benefit. The team will still be paying Del Zotto his full salary regardless of where he is assigned. A trade seems to make the most sense, though it is. unlikely that any team is going to give up a legitimate asset, even if he does clear waivers. In this case that would increase his value, as the acquiring team could put him in the minors, but there’s still not going to be much of a return on investment for Ottawa.
Interestingly enough, Del Zotto has still put up points even in his limited showings. With six points in ten games, he’s shown once again that he can contribute offensively, even if his defensive play leaves something to be desired. A veteran of more than 700 NHL games, perhaps a contender will feel as though he can help their depth down the stretch.