The Nashville Predators acquired a defenceman with offensive upside, in exchange for a veteran with a long-term contract. Air Max 90 Ultra Moire . 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
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. But what about the officials? Every sport has officials and they also have stories about hard work and sacrifice but their accomplishments are seldom recognized by anyone outside their inner circle.CHICAGO -- Dusty Baker doesnt follow the records. He is keeping count as the Reds keep piling up wins at Wrigley Field. Xavier Paul hit a three-run home run, Joey Votto added a two-run shot and the Cincinnati Reds roughed up Matt Garza and the Chicago Cubs 12-2 on Tuesday night. Tony Cingrani (3-0), filling in for the injured Johnny Cueto, pitched seven strong innings as Cincinnati extended its franchise-best winning streak at Wrigley Field to 11 games. The former Cubs manager was surprised to hear that 11 games is the most consecutive wins by an opponent at Wrigley. "Really? Ill tell you, I am not an accountant. But I do know how many. Its a nice count," Baker said with a sly smile. Cingrani, from Chicagos South Suburbs, allowed two runs and four hits, while striking out five and allowing one walk. Zack Cozart also added a three-run shot in the eighth and Todd Frazier hit a solo home run in the second inning for the Reds. Baker also passed Ralph Houk for 16th place on the all-time win list for a manager with 1,620 victories. The Reds have won 18 of its last 21 against the Cubs. "Its pretty cool. Were comfortable here. Our pitching has been doing what they have always been doing and we feel really relax here and we know coming in we will have a really good shot," said Frazier. "For some reason, we do like playing here in Chicago, but were happy go lucky. Its pretty fun, it gets us back on the winning track. We got two more to go, were trying to get that sweep." Garza (1-1) was tagged for a career-high nine runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. He was lifted in the sixth after allowing six runs without retiring a batter. "Its keeping the ball down and fastball command, I dont think he really had his slider today, he wasnt throwing much, but its still keeping the ball down, keeping the ball down and away and obviously pitching in, but youve got to have fastball command down in the strike zone," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. Garza dropped to 0-2 against the Reds this season, allowing 13 runs in nine innings. The three homers he gave up were the most since last July 5 at Atlanta. Cody Ransom hit a solo home run for the Cubs, who have lost seven of their last nine games. Thhe third baseman committed three of Chicagos four errors as the Cubs suffered their worst defeat of the season. Air Max 2017 Uomo. With two outs in the second, Frazier connected on a 1-2 pitch that wound up in the centre-field basket for his seventh home run of the season. It was his first homer on the road this year and first one since April 24th. "Im trying to get hits, Im trying to help the team. Do I want to hit home runs? Yes,. But at the same time Im trying to get my average up, were trying to win. Am I conscious (about it). Yeah, its there, but I know at the end of the year Im going to have the numbers I am going to have. I am trying to reach my goals and I still think I have a shot," said Frazier. An inning later, Votto tagged Garza for a two-run shot. It was Vottos 11th of the season. Votto is 16 for 30 with seven doubles, one home run and eight RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak at Wrigley. The Reds added six runs for Cingrani in the sixth. Jay Bruce lined a double down the left-field line to drive in two runs. After Garza hit Frazier with a pitch, Paul followed with a three-run homer to right. After chasing Garza, Cozart added an RBI single to give the Reds a 9-1 lead. Bruce was 3 for 5 with two RBIs as Cincinnati finished with 17 hits. Ransom scored on Alfonso Sorianos sacrifice fly in the fourth. Ransom hit his seventh homer of the season in the sixth. Cozart cleared the bases on a three-run homer in the eighth inning off Cubs reliever Zach Putnam. Putnam left with an apparent injury after giving up the home run. "Hes got a bone spur that he battled over a year now, he said it was just on fire, so I think well get an MRI on that tomorrow," said Sveum. NOTES: The Cubs suspended Triple-A infielder Ian Stewart on Tuesday without pay for an indefinite period following his critical comments about the organization. ... RHP Mike Leake is Wednesdays scheduled starter for the Reds. He is 3-1 in his last five starts with a 1.13 ERA. ... On Wednesday, Cubs starter Travis Wood will try for the fifth time to beat his former team. He is 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA against the Reds. ... After the game, the Cubs acquired RHP Henry Rodriguez from the Nationals for minor league RHP Ian Dickson. Wholesale Jerseys China ' ' '