The New York Rangers and skilled offensive defensemen, restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto, are reportedly still far apart in terms of getting a new deal done for the talented 22 year old blue liner.
Last season for the Rangers Del Zotto tallied 10 goals, 31 assists for a total of 41 points to go with a plus 20 ranking while playing in 77 regular season games. During the Rangers playoff run that ended in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the New Jersey Devils, Del Zotto netted 2 goals and recorded 8 assists to go a long with a rough minus 4 ranking.
It has been reported by New York Post sports writer, Larry Brooks, that the Rangers offered Del Zotto a multi-year contract worth between $2.2-$2.5 million that Del Zotto has yet to accept. Brooks said,
“The Blueshirts are believed to be offering a multi-year deal in the neighborhood of $2.2 million to $2.5 million per season to Del Zotto, who faces some urgency given the looming Sept. 15 shutdown of business and the possibility that less will be available under the cap under the next CBA”
So it appears Brooks feels Del Zotto should sign sooner rather than later considering the Rangers may not have the cap space to give him more money under a new CBA. I can agree with Mr. Brooks and I believe Del Zotto may be over valuing himself at this point in his career. Not to mention $2.5 million is a good chunk of change and a hefty pay raise for Del Zotto who made $875,000 this past season.
It should be noted that fellow Rangers blue liner, 25 year old Marc Staal, signed a 5 year deal in 2010 that has an annual cap hit of $3.9 million. It’s also a contract that sees Staal’s salary rise from $3.1 million the first year all the way up to $5.4 million in the final year. Staal was slowed by injuries last season and never really got on track.
There has been speculation by a few in the hockey community that Del Zotto could possibly be waiting to see what PK Subban or John Carlson get from their respective teams. However, those players could also potentially be waiting to see what Del Zotto is going to sign for considering all are around the same age and pretty close statistically. It appears to be quite the vicious cycle. As always this off season, teams and players could also be waiting to see how the new CBA plays out.
With Del Zotto’s skill level, age, and ceiling the Rangers would be wise to lock the offensive defensemen up and it appears that is exactly what they are trying to do. Del Zotto hasn’t shown or said anything to indicate he wants out of New York, so it seems as though a deal will most likely get done. Which is good news for both sides and the Rangers faithful.
As always we welcome your commentary and comments below. Feel free to follow Billy Bryson on Twitter @BillyBrysonNHL and thanks for reading.