There are plenty of Bruins fans clamoring for a “name” defenseman to be traded to Boston as a suitable replacement for Dennis Seidenberg now that he’s lost for the rest of the season. Amidst the expectation the Bruins will deal for a veteran D-man prior to the March 5 trade deadline, there were some raised eyebrows when the Rangers and Predators exchanged defensemen: Michael Del Zotto headed to Nashville for 29-year-old stay-at-home defenseman Kevin Klein.
It was no secret that the 23-year-old lefty shooting Del Zotto was available after he’d fallen into Rangers coach Alain Vigneault’s dog house in New York, and he had been a healthy scratch as of late. For the same reasons he was now defenseman non grata in NYC, Del Zotto would have been awful fit with the Bruins.
He does have a 37-point and 41-point season on his five-year NHL resume, but Del Zotto is also a severe defensive liability. Even worse, Del Zotto looked completely disinterested in playing a hard style of hockey during last year’s playoff series against the Bruins.
It’s a completely realistic to assume that Del Zotto may blossom as an offensive defenseman after being given a fresh start outside of New York, but his strengths as a player -- and definite weaknesses -- would have made him a disastrous fit for the Black and Gold.
Klein is a 29-year-old stay-at-home defenseman that’s been a 20-minute a night player for the Predators, and is second behind Shea Weber in the blocked shots category for Nashville. Klein would lead the B’s with his 94 blocked shots this season, but he’s also been a minus-24 over the last five seasons in Nashville and is signed through 2017-18 at $2.9 million per season.
The Bruins are looking for a rental defenseman in any deal they make, so Klein wasn’t going to be an option for them either.
The search goes on for the right fit along the blueline for a Bruins team in need of a veteran top-four D-man. The search may take a while as far too many NHL teams remain within sniffing distance of a playoff spot with only a few weeks remaining until the Olympic roster freeze in February.