When it comes to the Ottawa Senators and the trade deadline, most point to Nick Paul, Chris Tierney, and the rest of the pending unrestricted free agents as the most likely targets. But there is another name, buried on the organizational depth chart, that should always be considered a trade candidate at deadline time. Michael Del Zotto, who has been traded three other times in his career, is drawing calls from around the league according to Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia.
Signed to a two-year, $4MM contract last July, things haven’t worked out for Del Zotto in Ottawa, where he has played just ten games this season. Instead, he’s spent most of the year in the minor leagues with the Belleville Senators, racking up nine goals and 22 points in 20 games for the minor league club. It’s something of a new experience for the 31-year-old defenseman, who stepped directly into the NHL in 2009 and stayed there, save for a brief 11-game tenure more than a decade ago.
In all, Del Zotto has more than 700 games of NHL experience and could still be a valuable depth addition for a contender looking for defensive help. The fact that he can still run a powerplay would give him a utility factor as an extra player, something that obviously attracted the St. Louis Blues in 2019 when they added him prior to their playoff run. Del Zotto wouldn’t end up playing for the Blues in the postseason, but his name is still on the Stanley Cup, a nice reward for the seven total games he played for the franchise.
It will be interesting to see what kind of market there would be for the veteran defenseman, given he’s signed through the 2022-23 season as well. That contract carries a cap hit of $2MM, meaning to even trade him the Senators may have to be willing to eat some of the remaining money. But for a contender trying to squeeze out value at the margins of a roster, you could probably do worse than a player with his level of experience.