Rumor Roundup: Where will Dustin Penner & Michael Del Zotto land?

Dustin Penner
Dustin Penner #17 of the Anaheim Ducks looks on prior to the start of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center on September 22, 2013 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

As the NHL off-season drags on, former New York Rangers and Nashville Predators defenseman Michael Del Zotto remains unsigned.

Only 24, Del Zotto is just two years removed from a 41-point performance with the Rangers in 2011-12. Unfortunately, his stock tumbled significantly last season, largely because of his poor play in his own zone.

Recent speculation linking Del Zotto to the Vancouver Canucks was denied by his agent, who claims there’s “no chance” his client ends up with the Canucks. It’s been rumored the Detroit Red Wings could have interest, but he’s a left-handed shot and the Wings seek a right-shooting blueliner.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks cited an NHL club claiming Del Zotto’s reputation was “in tatters.” He believes now is the right time to “buy low” on the young rearguard and wonders why the New York Islanders haven’t pursued him.

Del Zotto’s youth and puck-moving skills make him a worthwhile gamble for teams in need of blueline offense. However, he could be forced to accept a training camp tryout to earn himself a new contract, which will be worth less than his $2.55-million salary last season.

WOULD PENNER FIT WITH THE JETS?
It remains to be seen if Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will make any significant additions to his roster in the weeks leading up to training camp in September. The Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe reports there was expectations Cheveldayoff would add another top-nine forward to replace the departed Devin Setoguchi.

Though the free-agent market is thin on talent, Wiebe cites Dustin Penner, a Manitoba native, as one possibility. While the 31-year-old Penner has been plagued by inconsistency throughout his career, Wiebe notes the winger “plays a physical game and can put the puck in the net”.

Penner’s production has declined since his career-best 63 points in 2009-10. After tallying 32 points in 49 games with the Anaheim Ducks last season, he managed only three points in 18 games following a trade to the Washington Capitals. Like Del Zotto, Penner could be forced to accept a training camp tryout to earn a contract.

BISSONNETTE OR CARCILLO A FIT WITH THE CAPITALS?
The Washington Capitals could be in the market for an affordable, tough left winger who can play a regular shift on their fourth line. Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post reports the Capitals have expressed interest in former Arizona Coyotes enforcer Paul Bissonnette.

Mark Guy, Bissonnette’s agent, told Prewitt his client seeks a “solid fourth-line position” on a team where he has a chance to win, saying the 29-year-old Bissonnette has improved his skating and skills over the past two years.

Prewitt notes the Capitals currently have around $1.1 million in cap space. Bissonnette earned $750,000 in actual salary last season, so he could be an economical addition.

CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley, meanwhile, suggests Dan Carcillo could be a good fit. Gormley notes the 29-year-old won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2013 and played on Cup finalists with Philadelphia in 2010 and the New York Rangers last season. Carcillo made $850,000 last season and, like Bissonnette, would be an affordable fit within the Capitals limited cap space.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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