Scanning the UFA rolls last night, I saw some suitable options to play next to Shea Weber on a first pairing and take on 22-25 minutes a night.
Two lefties with skating and offensive ability, who aren’t perfect but might complement Shea’s skillset quite well, in a ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ kind of way, and fit nicely into our cap space, are Dmitry Kulikov and Michael Del Zotto.
Both have seen their value take a dip in the last couple of year, especially Michael Del Zotto, who had an inflated reputation playing in the NY Rangers spotlight. They’re still defencemen so they’re going to be hot commodities as we come to July 1, but we’ve cleared a lot of cap space with Alexei being claimed by Las Vegas.
The attractiveness of these two guys is greatly increased by the fact that we can sign them outright, instead of a Marco Scandella, who we’d have to pay dearly for. Getting either of them without having to surrender Chucky is worth getting into a bit of a bidding war.
And I know the chorus will chime in and say that Mr. Kulikov hasn’t really panned out yet, he’s inconsistent in terms of effort and results, or that Michael Del Zotto is a one-trick pony, all offence but terrible in his zone, but we have to look at how they’d fit in with Shea Weber. Not only do they need to be very mobile and good at moving the puck, we can ‘afford’ the fact that they’re not Craig Ludwig in the defensive zone if Shea is there to pick up the slack.
Two other options might be Trevor Daley or Kyle Quincey, two veteran d-men who can pitch in for a couple of seasons.
So the LD situation isn’t quite as dire as you’d believe if you strictly go by what you read on social media, but then again, that’s par for the course.