Monday, February 25, 2019

Blues acquire depth on defense at deadline

Team deals 2019 sixth-round pick to Ducks for veteran Del Zotto

ST. LOUIS -- Trade deadline day nearly came and went without a whimper for the Blues until they were able to add veteran depth to their blue line as the 2 p.m. hit.

The Blues acquired left-handed defenseman Michael Del Zotto from the Anaheim Ducks for a 2019 sixth-round pick. 
Michael Del Zotto

The 28-year-old is playing out the final year of a two-year contract signed in 2017 that carries a $2.25 million cap hit after the Vancouver Canucks traded Del Zotto to the Ducks on Jan. 16 for, coincidentally, Brayden Schenn's brother Luke Schenn. 

Del Zotto, who is in his 10th NHL season after being drafted by the New York Rangers with the 20th pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, has also played for the Philadelphia Flyers (and was Brayden Schenn's teammate) and Nashville Predators.

He comes in as a depth defenseman from the left side. The Blues must have concerns about Carl Gunnarsson, who is shelved again currently with an upper-body injury, believed to be a wrist injury, the same wrist that hampered him earlier in the season, and has dealt with three injuries already this season.

Del Zotto has seven points (one goal, six assists) in 35 games with the Canucks and Ducks this season. In 601 career games, Del Zotto has 218 points (54 goals, 164 assists). 

Del Zotto will become teammates with childhood friend Alex Pietrangelo, who along with Toronto's John Tavares and Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos all played midget hockey together for the Toronto Blues.

The Blues, who are 11-1-1 in February and in third place in the Central Division, five points ahead of the Dallas Stars and five behind the Nashville Predators for second in the Central Division, could have been poking around at the forwards available for trade on Monday with the uncertainties of forwards David Perron and Brayden Schenn, both out with upper-body injuries believed to be concussion-related in some form, but nothing materialized on that front.

Among the names on the trade market that were dealt on Monday included the big fish, Mark Stone, who Ottawa sent to Vegas. Also, Kevin Hayes (Winnipeg), Wayne Simmonds (Nashville), Mikael Granlund (Nashville), Marcus Johansson (Boston), Derick Brassard (Colorado) and defenseman Adam McQuaid (Columbus).

The Blues also assigned defenseman Chris Butler and forwards Sammy Blais and Jordan Kyrou to San Antonio of the American Hockey League to one, make them eligible for the AHL playoffs, but it could be in hopes that both Perron and/or Schenn are not long on a return.

Schenn, who was put on injured reserve and isn't eligible to play Tuesday against Nashville but would be eligible to play Friday at Carolina. Perron has missed the past 16 games.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will address the developments of Monday and beyond at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. 

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