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New York Rangers part ways with Michael Del Zotto, acquire Kevin Klein

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According to TSN Analyst Darren Dreger, the New York Rangers have finally severed ties with defenseman Michael Del Zotto today, trading the former first-round draft choice to Nashville in exchange for Kevin Klein.

With head coach Alain Vigneault acting as one of his most vocal critics, Del Zotto's name appeared to be at the heart of trade talks surrounding the New York Rangers this season.

"I've been told he is a much better player," Vigneault said in November. " I have not seen that on a consistent enough basis."

The lack of confidence resulted in the young blue-liner occasionally watching from the press box as a healthy scratch and eventually the trade that would end his ice time under Vigneault for good.

Del Zotto will become a restricted free agent at the end of this season.

The 23-year-old was drafted by the Rangers 20th overall in 2008 and leaves town have scored 24 goals and 86 assists through 250 regular season games with the Blueshirts. In 42 games this season with the Rangers, Del Zotto tallied two goals and 11 points.

Coming back the other way is 29-year-old defenseman, Kevin Klein who has spent his NHL career on the team that drafted him in 2003. The Rangers will inherit the five-year deal Klein signed with the Predators which is set to expire after the 2017-2018 season, with a cap hit of $2.9-million/season.

In 403 games with the Predators, the right-shooting Klein produced 16 goals, 66 assists and 110 penalty minutes.

Far from a name Rangers' fans will be familiar with, the return value on Del Zotto seems to be a bit low, considering Sather has reportedly been sniffing offers for months now.

The length and price of Klein is appealing, especially with the possibility that Dan Girardi tests the free agency market this July. Still, if Kevin Klein was the offer Sather couldn't refuse, I'd be interested to see what other GM's had put on the table.