Geek of the Week – Michael Del Zotto

Terry Campkin

2014-01-26

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Michael Del Zotto moved to Nashville and so he’s our Geek of the Week…

Whenever a fantasy relevant player changes teams in the NHL, I like to do a deep dive on their historical performance and assess their situation with their new team in an attempt to determine if there might be some value there. Today I'm going to take a look at a player who is hoping that a change of scenery will revive his once promising career: Michael Del Zotto.

 

Three years ago (2011-12 season), Michael Del Zotto was one of the better fantasy hockey defensemen going. His ability to accumulate points, while contributing on the man advantage and hitting at a high-end clip made him an extremely attractive own in many leagues. Take a look at his Fantasy Hockey Geek calculated numbers in the Dobber Experts' league that season:

 

(16 team league, measuring G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, Hits)

 

Rank Player G A +/- SOG PPP Hits
46 Michael Del Zotto 10 31 20 113 14 156

 

In the 2011-12 season, MDZ was the 46th most valuable player in the entire league, the 40th most valuable skater and the 12th most valuable defenseman! Astonishingly, he provided more value to his owners that season than PK Subban or Duncan Keith did. This guy was an up and coming fantasy stud. So what made Del Zotto such a solid own?


Points: As I mentioned, MDZ was putting up points at a decent clip: his 41 were 18th amongst defensemen that season. Furthermore, his 10 goals were 16th amongst blue-liners.

Hits: Del Zotto's real value came from his ability to play the body to the tune of about two hits per game. His 156 hits ranked him fifth amongst defensemen who netted at least 35 points that season. He was average to good in most other categories, but he was great in hits which really helped to propel his value.


+/-: MDZ was a +20 that season which would have helped his value a lot. Looking at his career numbers though, it would have been smart at the time to expect a regression in this number.

 

Shots: His shot totals were good, but not great even in his best seasons and the fact that he was able to score 10 goals on just 113 shots might have been a bit of a red flag as well. 9% is a high shooting percentage for a defenseman.

 

Following the 2011-12 season, my expectations for MDZ were through the roof: I thought that his 41 points were just scratching the surface of his potential but I also knew that even at his 41 point output, Del Zotto was providing much more fantasy value than rival GMs would be giving him credit for. I targeted him in all of my leagues, expecting a repeat performance at a minimum and hoping for the upside. Unfortunately, I was in for a rude awakening as Del Zotto's performance started to tail off in the lockout shortened 2013 season. His point, shot and PPP output cooled, a