Michael Del Zotto Will Return with a Solid Year for the New York Rangers

Evan LeBlancCorrespondent IIAugust 30, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 20:  Michael Del Zotto #4 of the New York Rangers controls the puck against the Philadelpia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 2011 in New York City. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 4-2. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Michael Del Zotto is one of many youngsters taken in the first round of the NHL draft (20th overall in 2008) that have needed a period of adjustment to the NHL. Del Zotto was the victim of the "sophomore jinx" last season and was sent down to the AHL by management.

Del Zotto posted 37 points in his rookie season (nine goals, 28 assists) and is quite capable of duplicating those numbers next season, which would get him out of coach John Tortorella's doghouse. He is a promising youngster who can move the puck with the best of them.

Hopefully, last season will act as a wake-up call and alert him to his play within his own zone. The Rangers project as a playoff team, and mistakes in coverage during the postseason will earn a player a spot on the bench.

Del Zotto will probably be given the opportunity to return to the point during the power play this next year, and he will not disappoint. He must have matured after learning not to take his roster spot for granted.

Del Zotto still possesses the shot and the on-ice instincts that led him to have such a solid season in his rookie year. He will be able to bounce back and lead all Ranger defensemen in points.

This time around, however, he must learn how to use John Tortorella's system to his advantage. The Rangers usually feature a 4-man attack, so Del Zotto can use some of his natural talents if he is careful.

Learning when to join the rush and when to stay back is a major sign of maturity for a young defenseman. If Del Zotto can learn that, he will impress enough to keep his job and get the opportunity to put up solid offensive numbers.