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Ask a Prospect -- Michael Del Zotto

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Michael Del Zotto
Michael Del Zotto, the defenseman chosen by the Rangers in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, is at the MSG Training Center this week, attending the annual Rangers Prospect Development Camp.

We invited fans to submit questions for Del Zotto here on, and he was gracious enough to respond to many of them. Here are the questions and his answers:

Tender from Newark, N.J. asks:

What would you say is the strongest/weakest part of your game?

Del Zotto's response:

The strongest would be my offensive ability. Just being able to move the puck to the right spots at the right time and being able to contribute from the back end. Last year, I would have said the weakest spot was defensively but now I feel like I've come a long way and am more of a two-way defenseman.

Tom Russo from Troy, N.Y, asks:

Do you think you have the mental toughness to play an 82-game season in the NHL?

Del Zotto's response:

Yeah, I think so. I think the biggest part about being mentally tough and ready for 82 games is the physical side of it. Being in shape. I think I've done a lot of work in that area as well over the past two summers to be in the best possible shape to survive a whole season, playoffs and then taking it all the way to the Stanley Cup.

Dmitry Yakushev from Minsk, Belarus, asks:

Do you listen to music before games and what music do you like?

Del Zotto's response:

I do, but it really depends. I don't really control the music. At times if I like something I'll put it on, but we kind of just have music in the dressing room, and I just go with it.

Damon Callahan from Bronx, N.Y., asks:

What is your goal for next season when training camp comes in September?

Del Zotto's response:

My goal is to make the New York Rangers, and I'm going to do everything it takes to come into camp and be ready and make the coaching staff take me on the team.

Joe Giambra from Clifton, N.J., asks:

Do you believe that you can have the same impact as Brian Leetch did on the team throughout his career and what differences do you have with Brian that may make your game stand out in other aspects compared to him?

Del Zotto's response:

It's tough comparing yourself to Brian Leetch, but I'm going to do everything I can, and I think it's going to take a couple of years to make the greatest impact, but one thing I may have over him at this age is the physical side of the game and being able to finish checks and punish guys.

Brett H. from Ridgefield, Conn., asks:

Out of any defensemen in the league right now, who would you want to be as your pair and why?

Del Zotto's response:

There really wouldn't be a name that I could give you that I would want to be paired with, but I can tell you it would be someone who can play strong defensively and make that strong outlet pass and allow me to go and join the rush because I know he's there to back me up.

Shamus McGilicotti from Bushwick, N.Y., asks:

How does it feel to have one of your teammates, John Tavares, drafted by the Islanders? What will it be like playing against him six or seven times a year?

Del Zotto's response:

It's definitely great for him. Obviously, playing with him, he's deserving of it. He's a great player. Playing against him, it'll be nice. Obviously, when you play with him all the time, you never get to see him on the other side. And definitely, finishing some checks on him would be good to get some bragging rights.

Corey F. from Eden Prairie, Minn., asks:

With players like Stall and Girardi making such an impact once on the team, do you feel any pressure to make an instant impact, and how excited are you to get an opportunity to wear a Rangers sweater night in and night out?

Del Zotto's response:

It's obviously unbelievable coming to the Rangers with the history here and everything, so it's going to be a great feeling putting on the Rangers sweater. I'm going to do everything I can to come in with a big impact and help the team win.

Luke B. from Harrisville, N.H., asks:

How does it feel to know that if you play in the NHL you get to play in front of one of the strongest goalies in the NHL in Henrik Lundqvist?

Del Zotto's response:

That definitely helps. Watching games this year and seeing some of the saves that Hank made was unbelievable. It definitely helps you out when you're back there knowing that if you do make a mistake from time to time, he's going to be there to bail you out.

Jacob from Buffalo, N.Y., asks:

To give us fans an idea of what kind of a player you are, who in the NHL can you most compare yourself to?

Del Zotto's response:

I believe I'm an offensive defenseman, but I don't really like to compare myself to anyone anymore. I kind of like to be my own player and be different from everyone else. I like to kind of be unique.
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