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Del Zotto becomes UFA after Preds don’t qualify him

Buffalo Sabres v Nashville Predators

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 27: Michael Del Zotto #5 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Buffalo Sabres at Bridgestone Arena on March 27, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

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It was not a good year for Michael Del Zotto. As a result, the 24-year-old defenseman will become an unrestricted free agent after the Nashville Predators decided against giving him a qualifying offer.

Del Zotto started the season with the New York Rangers. However, not too long after his new coach, Alain Vigneault, openly wondered about the player he’d been told was “much better,” Del Zotto was traded to Nashville.

Unfortunately for Del Zotto, it didn’t take long to wander into another coach’s doghouse. This time, it was Barry Trotz’s.

Fast forward to the offseason and, according to Predators GM David Poile, Del Zotto was simply “not a fit” in Nashville.

Del Zotto’s best NHL season came in 2011-12, when he scored 41 points for the Rangers. He also had a strong rookie campaign in 2009-10, when he had 37 points and earned a few Calder Trophy votes.

His expiring contract paid him $5.1 million over two years, for a cap hit of $2.55 million.