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Del Zotto looking to silence doubters and contribute to Belleville Sens success

January 11, 2022

It’s safe to say that the Belleville Senators were overjoyed when they heard Michael Del Zotto was re-assigned to their club. For their part, Ottawa’s top executives envisioned more ice time and opportunity for the 31-year-old defenceman down the 401, in the short term at least. A quick recall has already broken up his tenure in the Friendly City.

Although highly motivated, Del Zotto holds the Senators’ organization in high regard as he works his way back to the NHL. “I definitely came in with a chip on my shoulder. Happy to work and get better every single day and prove to the people that sent me here that I am an everyday NHL player and that the last 12-to-13 years haven’t been a fluke.”

For now, the smooth-skating defender is the perfect player to invigorate a power play and help create offence from the backend. The Stouffville, Ontario native already has seven points, including three goals, in four games in the AHL. He has also recorded back-to-back three-point efforts, ranking him fourth among defencemen in team scoring.

Del Zotto was quick to credit the direction of head coach Troy Mann and his coaching staff for his offensive renaissance. “The coaching staff has been great to me, welcomed me in with open arms and really helped me to continue to grow my game. The last two games have definitely been fun offensively for me.”

Likewise, Mann has been pleased with his scoring touch and positive attitude. “I think his mindset is in a really good spot right now. Obviously, any player of his ilk wants to be in the NHL, but he’s fit in nicely with our team. As long as he’s part of our squad here, I believe he is going to contribute offensively, and that’s what we expect from him.”

Further to his recent successes, Del Zotto wants to lead in terms of helping the team get on a better footing. “We have to put a streak together here. We know where we are in the standings going back and forth, winning one, losing one certainly doesn’t help us right now. Hopefully this can create some confidence for the group and put together a good streak on the road and climb ourselves up the standings.”

Consistency will be the key. Offensive numbers alone are not enough. A sustained effort at both ends of the ice and strong play game-in and game-out will be needed to get Belleville into the playoff picture and help Del Zotto punch his ticket back to the NHL. But for the moment, it seems he is doing his part to make both outcomes more likely.

Submitted by: Joel Vanderlaan (@Joelvanderlaan)