The 2013-14 Proving Ground

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Michael Del Zotto

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Now 23 years old and with four years and 250 games of NHL experience under his belt, Michael Del Zotto is out to prove this season that he is an elite puck-moving defenseman, one who is capable of quarterbacking the team's previously floundering power play, with 50+ points a legitimate expectation. And with new head coach Alain Vigneault promising that the 2013-14 Rangers will be engaged in a more creative offensive flow than in years past, it's no wonder why Del Zotto is so excited to get the new season underway. There's no question that MDZ felt creatively constrained in the past, but he still produced 37 points as a 19 year-old rookie in 2009-10 and 41 points (10-31-41) two seasons ago. It is fair to speculate that his offensive contributions from the back end should greatly increase under Vigneault's preferred style of play. But that is not a given until Del Zotto actually starts putting those points up during games, and he squashes all of those trade rumors and proves for good that the Rangers do not need to reach outside the organization for an elite playmaker from the back end. Add to the mix that MDZ was not thrilled with his uneven play in the 2013 post-season, and you get one highly motivated athlete heading into camp, one who is out to answer questions, not raise more questions.