With the Rick Nash acquisition and the changing faces among the Rangers bottom six forwards the Rangers roster has undergone considerable change. Glen Sather appears to have made most of his moves when factoring in the new contracts handed out to players such as Anton Stralman. Barring a Shane Doan arrival the last significant move the Rangers GM must make is re-signing Michael Del Zotto.
Del Zotto’s contract situation is a pretty key situation for all concerned. On the one hand the player himself would surely prefer a significant commitment from the Rangers before any possible CBA decisions can influence what he may receive. Del Zotto had a fine bounce back season and is comfortably the Rangers most offensively inclined blueliner making his position (and future) in the organisation a critical one.
Then there are the Rangers themselves. How do they address Del Zotto’s new deal? After Del Zotto was qualified for the 105% figure that was needed (after his rookie deal of $875k) Sather has been in – what appears to be – no rush in inking Del Zotto.
Is Del Zotto the long term answer for the Rangers in terms of offensive blueline production? Which is the real Del Zotto; the 11/12 or the 10/11 vintage? What is Del Zotto’s long term upside? These are all questions Sather and his team will be trying to define as they decide on a new deal for the young Canadian.
The answers to these questions will have a tremendous impact on the Rangers in upcoming seasons. Once they are answered the Rangers then need to concern themselves with potential CBA implications. Sather may decide on a shorter term deal with less dollars and dangle the proverbial carrot in front of Del Zotto, challenging him to earn the truly big bucks. However, if Tortorella, Sather and co. are convinced Del Zotto is the answer maybe we see a longer term contract upwards of $3m given to the defenseman.
With the CBA uncertainty, the recent blueline draftees and factoring in the rapid development of Ryan McDonagh, right now a sensible offer for Del Zotto figures to be a mid length deal of 3-4 years and between $2-3m per year.
The fact is that right now Del Zotto still represents a risk for several reasons and with the club’s recent draft choices, and factoring Del Zotto’s age and up and down career so far with the Rangers we’ll know a lot more about how the future looks for Del Zotto when we see the terms of his new deal.