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by on December 26, 2018
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The Nashville Predators acquired a defenceman with offensive upside, in exchange for a veteran with a long-term contract. Cheap Nuggets Jerseys . Numbers Game examines the deal that sees Michael Del Zotto and Kevin Klein switch places. The Predators Get: D Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto, 23, has been a decent, if not altogether consistent, puck-moving defenceman through 292 NHL games, but he never seemed to connect with new Rangers coach Alain Vigneault and was playing a career-low 17:45 per game this season, after logging a career-high 23:10 for the Rangers last season. The ideal for Del Zotto is to play in an offensive role, working the power play, where he has tallied 48 of his 121 career points (39.7%) and that contribution helps offset otherwise mediocre numbers at even strength. During his five-year career, Del Zotto is a little above average in terms of offensive production (ranking 56th in points per 60 minutes, among 161 defencemen to play a minimum of 3000 5-on-5 minutes). His possession numbers are less inspiring, ranking 102nd out of that same group of 161, while starting a healthy percentage of his shifts in the offensive zone. Playing on the Rangers third pairing this year also means that Del Zotto has faced a lower level of competition than he has in previous seasons and its not as though hes excelled against that weaker competition, so theres a decent chance that Del Zotto is going to need protection in Nashville. While Del Zotto might be a useful addition as a lefthanded shot, on a blueline that was leaning right, hell need to play better if hes going to fill a top-four role on a nightly basis. He is only 23, so there is the possibility that he will improv but, with Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm the left shooting defencemen in the top four for Nashville lately, Del Zotto figures to be competing with Ekholm for second-pair playing time. When it comes to the power play, Del Zotto could get a look ahead of Ryan Ellis on the second pairing. At a cap hit of $2.55-million, Del Zotto will be a restricted free agent at seasons end, which makes the rest of this season an audition, a chance for Del Zotto to rehabilitate his value after a tough start to the year, and if he doesnt, then the Predators will likely have a more affordable (albeit less appealing) option on the blueline. Ultimately, Del Zottos offensive upside, in addition to increased salary flexibility, makes the deal worthwhile for the Predators. The Rangers Get: D Kevin Klein. Klein is a 29-year-old right-shooting defenceman who will never be confused for an offensive dynamo. Hes talled 82 points in 403 career games, including three points in 47 games this season, but it doesnt mean he doesnt have some skill when presented with a scoring opportunity. Nevertheless, while Klein has played top four minutes on the Nashville blueline over the past five seasons, hes taken some lumps in that role. His possession stats, like most in Nashville, arent good (ranking 146th out of the aforementioned group of 161), but that does come with the caveat of starting the majority of his shifts in the defensive zone and, generally, facing a decent level of competition. In New York, Klein will take over Del Zottos spot on the third pairing, which will allow John Moore to move back to his natural left side and the easier level of competition in that role ought to help Klein. There is some congruity in the righty-lefty shooting part of this deal. Klein is under contract for four more season, at a cap hit of $2.9-million per season, a tad pricey for the third pairing, but thats likely where he fits. Klein offers some insurance if the Rangers lose Dan Girardi as an unrestricted free agent in the summer but, based on his career to this point, its not as though Klein ought to be tasked with taking on the oppositions best forwards. He can play some of those hard minutes, but chances are its asking too much. The price tag on Klein is dubious because of the term remaining on his contract. If this hasnt been a great season for him, how much better will it be when hes 32 or 33-years-old? Given that questionable value, it doesnt speak too well about the perceived value of Del Zotto around the league. Having a legitimate NHL defenceman, who has handled top-four minutes, under contract might offer some safety to the Blueshirts and thats essentially what this deal is. Taking a defensive defenceman, under contract, in exchange for an offensive defenceman that is headed for restricted free agency. Barring improvement, both could end up on the third pairings for their new teams. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.Authentic Nikola Jokic Jersey . Last years runner-up, Sara Errani, also reached the last eight in straight sets. Flipkens converted all four of her break points against Meusburger, and the third-seeded Errani broke Karin Knapps serve five times to win their all-Italian match 6-4, 6-3. Authentic Will Barton Jersey . -- Howie Kendrick had a two-run single in his first game batting leadoff this season, Chris Iannetta hit a pair of RBI singles and the Los Angeles Angels beat Cleveland 6-4 Tuesday night, sending the Indians to their fifth straight defeat. LAPEENRANTA, Finland -- Canada will have to play for bronze at the world under-18 hockey championship. David Kase scored at 6:17 of overtime to give the Czech Republic a 4-3 semifinal win over Canada on Saturday. Kase converted a turnover in the Canadian zone to move the Czechs into the tournament final against the United States on Sunday. The Americans advanced with a 4-1 semifinal victory over Sweden. Canada, the defending champion who erased an early 3-0 deficit, will play the Swedes for the bronze medal on Sunday. "Its not easy," Canadian head coach Kevin Dineen said. "You just dont walk by this, you feel the sting of it and understand its going to be a tough game for both teams. "But it has to be something that we understand about playing for your country. Theres opportunity to finish strong and weve got to come out and show some respect for our country by playing extremely hard." The Czechs dominated overtime, outshooting Canada 5-1 in the extra frame and forcing goalie Mason McDonald to come up big. But the Canadians had a glorious chance to earn the victory when they went on the power play after David Pastrnak was called for hooking Travis Konecny at 2:07, but couldnt come up with the winner. Dineen said that was indeed a lost opportunity for his squad. "Absolutely," he said. "They were able to clear two pucks out and unfortunately for us we didnt have a net presence there. "We had some real skill and some ability to shoot it but nobody standing in front of the net, which was a real issue for us. We needed to capitalize there and I think when you get one of those in overtime you like to think that youve got a real advantage and unfortunately we couldnt get the thing to go in. Authentic Malik Beasley Jersey. " The Canadians forced overtime with third-period goals by Joe Hicketts and Daniel Audette and Dineen said the effort his team had to expend to erase its early deficit came back to haunt it later on. "Yeah, it did," said Dineen, who led Canadas national womens team to Olympic gold in Sochi, Russia. "These players are used to logging a lot of icetime with their respective junior teams but I dont think theyre used to logging such hard minutes like they had to tonight. "That certainly played into it, fatigue at the end." Jiri Smejkal, Jakub Vrana and Michael Spacek scored in regulation for the Czech Republic, which outshot the Canadians 33-30. Mathew Barzal also scored for Canada. The Czechs wasted no time opening the scoring, with Spaceks goal coming just 1:15 into the contest. Vrana made it 2-0 at 7:37 of the second before Smejkal converted on a two-on-one break at 12:57. Barzal cut Canadas deficit to 3-1 with a power-play goal at 14:51. The Canadians came close moments after, with Ryan Gropp having a great scoring chance off a two-on-one, but couldnt beat Czech goalie Vtek Vanecek. Queeneville also had a glorious opportunity to make it a one-goal game with just over two minutes remaining. 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