Michael Del Zotto, D – New York Rangers
2008, 1st round, 20th overall
A fiery October has led way to a cool November and a cold December for 19-year-old Del Zotto. After posting four goals, 11 assists in his first 20 games, Del Zotto has potted a goal, four helpers, and a minus-10 over the past 12. Head coach John Tortorella’s confidence in the young blueliner has, at least publicly, not wavered as his ice time is 21:44 through the month of December, over two minutes more than his season average of 19:15. The problem for the offensively gifted defender is how opposing teams key in on him. The additional ice time and responsibility is starting to lead to defensive errors.
...i think after some recent struggles, Del Zotto seems to be turning his game back around. He looked real good the other night against Atlanta and last night he played with some snarl I hadn't seen from him all year.
Chris Kreider, LW – Boston College (Hockey East)
New York Rangers, 2009, 1st round, 19th overall
Some adjustments to the NCAA style of play were to be expected for this first-round pick. However, Kreider's offensive production to date, two goals in 14 games, does not even meet modest expectations for a forward who is highly touted for his skill and conditioning. Still, he has managed to at times show good offensive instincts and puck-protection and has two goals and three assists to show for it. Currently mired in a four -game pointless streak, the 18-year-old has seen a decline in ice time recently. There is no reason to push the panic button though. Kreider is still young and raw. Also, as he is just a first-year player, and holdovers from the previous season such as Ben Smith (CHI) and Cam Atkinson (CLB), are given first crack at power-play duties.
...i know there were some concerns about Kreider's lack of competition at prep and he now seems to be struggling against superior opponents in college. But the kid's just a freshman and has plenty of time to figure it out.