The last thing that the Rangers as an organization need to do is to get RFA Michael Del Zotto under contract. When we last wrote about this, Larry Brooks was on record saying that the Rangers offered MDZ a multi-year deal in the $2.5 million range. Del Zotto was rumored to be looking for more, but no concrete numbers were provided. The logical assumption is that Del Zotto’s number is far enough off the Rangers offer to create a stalemate in negotiations. Obviously, this is just rumor and there is no concrete evidence to support this.
Basing analysis off this assumption, let’s say that the Del Zotto camp wants $3.5 million on a multi-year deal. It’s not that unheard of, nor is he that far off market value. After all, Del Zotto was in the top-20 in defensive scoring, top-15 in plus/minus (I know…), and top-10 in GVT. That makes MDZ one of the top offensive defensemen in the league. And although he does have some shortcomings (inconsistent defensive play), his stats make him a premier RFA.
So while many believe that Del Zotto is barely worth the $2.5 million offer on the table, those people are sorely mistaken. What works against Del Zotto is that he is coming off his entry-level deal, and has zero leverage in negotiations. We’ve seen this before with the Rangers and their RFAs, where Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan, and Brandon Dubinsky each took much longer than expected to get under contract. The Rangers also have no real desire to rush this, as a new CBA is coming, and with that comes the possibility that new terms push MDZ’s value down.
The one thing that isn’t really necessary now is panic. The season likely isn’t going to start on time, and it doesn’t appear that Del Zotto is going to let his contract status prevent him from showing up for informal skates.
MDZ will be signed before the season starts, if it starts. If I were to venture a guess as to what he signs for, I’d say three years, $2.75 million per year. Just my guess though.