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Mailbag: Del Zotto and Girardi rumors; Surging Rangers; Playoffs and more

January 14, 2014, by

Received three good questions over the past few weeks, so hopefully I can provide three good answers as the Rangers continue to surge in the standings.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Do you think the Rangers will trade both Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto? What can they bring back in a trade?

This really depends on how the Rangers are playing both at the Olympic roster freeze and at the trade deadline. With their recent surge, I don’t think they will be sellers unless they lose ten games in a row and fall four spots in the standings. Since they will be buyers (most likely), I doubt they move Girardi. I understand the concern about getting him signed, but making a big playoff push is more important than getting a good return on the veteran defenseman.

As for Del Zotto, he’s playing much, much better of late. He got moved back to the left side of the ice, and he’s been a force on defense since. That said, I think his days in New York are numbered. He’s been wildly inconsistent this year, and Alain Vigneault has made it clear that he doesn’t trust him as much. AV has also made it abundantly clear that he would rather deal with the same type of play from John Moore –who has significantly less NHL experience– than MDZ.

In terms of value, Girardi would likely fetch two solid NHL ready prospects, a top farm prospect, and a first round pick (think Marian Hossa deal). If the Rangers fall out of contention, trading him would single-handedly retool the team. MDZ’s value is at an all-time low, but a 24-year-old defenseman who has proven he can play in the NHL while producing is still worth a decent amount. I think you can package him and a lower level prospect (along the lines of Ryan Bourque) for a top-six right-handed defender around the same age as MDZ.

Why does this team all of a sudden look so good?

As that horrible losing streak was starting to come to an end, the Rangers were doing a lot more of the little things needed to win games. I think they lost the last two or three games just because the puck wouldn’t bounce their way. PDO (SV%+SH%) generally rounds out to 100, but the Rangers had been hovering around 95 for the first half of the season. This was due to Henrik Lundqvist’s struggles, but also because the Rangers were shooting at an abysmal 5%.

Neither Lundqvist’s poor play (.900 SV%) nor the shooting percentage were going to remain that low. What we are seeing now is Henrik’s regression to his career mean (roughly .920 SV%) and the Rangers finally starting to get some bounces and have pucks go in the net. Usually one or the other will result in a few wins, but the Rangers have seen them both begin to correct themselves at the same time. When that happens, you get a team that looks dominant.

Do you think the Rangers will make the playoffs? The Metropolitan is weak, but the Rangers are very inconsistent.

This is a team that will make the playoffs. Not only are they too good not to make the playoffs, but the Metropolitan Division, save for the Penguins, is a tire fire at the moment. The Flyers showed us last night why they aren’t a lock for the playoffs. The Caps don’t play defense. I don’t believe the Blue Jackets will keep up with their recent streak. The Devils can’t score. The Hurricanes probably shouldn’t have even made it this far. And the Islanders are the Islanders.

Perhaps the biggest difference now is that the Atlantic Division is starting to come back to Earth. Sure, the top three teams are solid teams that are playoff bound, but the rest of the division is a toss-up. Even the Red Wings are being kept alive by the skin of their Bettman points. There is no guarantee that both wild cards come from that division anymore, which bodes well for the Rangers.

Don’t forget you can always email us and ask us questions. We will try to get to them all, and some that require longer answers will wind up in posts like these.


  1. Chris F says:

    Not to get overly optimistic based on the recent surge, but not only can the Rangers make the playoffs but they can make a run.

    We’ve all seen how maddeningly inconsistent and underwhelming this team can be. And yet, I think recent weeks have shown that the current squad CAN play at an elite level. They looked like Chicago or Pittsburgh out there against the Flyers.

    They need to work on playing a little grittier and addressing defensive lapses, but make no mistake this team can do something come Spring.

    • @Centerman21 says:

      When AV was in Vancouver. His teams always seemed to lack a mental & physical aspect to the game. They were outclassed by Boston and they unraveled in that series. When he was named HC of the NYR I thought this team already had those intangibles by default after several seasons with Torts. IMO we are seeing that now. This is a tough team playing a speed game. They played pretty physical the last 5-6 games. They have a 4th line now with Carcillo that’s able to set that tone when momentum goes to the opposition.
      I can’t hand them the cup but they have the weapons to make a run this season. For the 1st time in years they have 4 effective forward lines. That to me makes them dangerous.

      • Dave says:

        Outclassed by Boston? The series went to 7 games.

        • Gary says:

          Timmy Thomas.  Luongo was out out classed by TT.  That was the series.

        • George says:

          Tim Thomas registered a hit in that Series. Lou was outclassed. Lol.

        • Ray says:

          Vancouver was positively crushed – 7 goals I think.  If the Canucks have Lundqvist instead of Luongo, they are would have been lucky to last five.

        • @Centerman21 says:

          You don’t think they unraveled at home in a game 7. It looked to me like the Bruins got to them after the Burrows biting incedent. Maybe outclassed was the wrong word but in the physical dept the Nucks couldn’t keep up and unraveled. Much like Pitt did in the series against the Flyers in 11/12. The Sedins did little in that series. My point was more about the match AV makes with a tougher NY team that knows how to outwork their opponent. I feel like that is coming to fruition now. AV in BC was a regular season Juggernaut and playoff failure. Same thing happened in playoffs against Preds & Sharks.

  2. JerseyRanger says:

    The playoff push is all about peaking at the right time (Its still early), with a hot goalie (we will have one) and filling in some missing pieces (defense).  That and a favorable first round draw and they can make a run,

  3. xnyker says:

    Don’t think the Rangers will trade Giradi and as long as the team wins, and will honor the bargaining process. A UFA deserves their chance and choice and the Rangers will deal with Callahan and Giradi in the off season before the draft..

    I have a question, do you think AV will reward or trust Cam and Faulk  for a stadium game….Not to start a Goalie controversy, but I am sure AV will love that question….

    • Dave says:

      Hank is hitting his stride. Talbot will play if it’s his turn in the rotation.

      I wouldn’t trust Falk to do much right now. MDZ and Moore are just simply better.

  4. @Centerman21 says:

    Tonight is another game against a team that played the night before. Just like against Philly the plan should be to jump on them early. The Rangers play quite a few games this month against opponents that are coming into the second game in two nights. Their starting goalie is out too so the Rangers should come out swinging and let that 4th line frustrate them early on. This game is given to them. They need to take advantage.

    • Walt says:

      Ben Vishop has come off of the IR list, and is expected to play tonight.  We can’t take this team lightly!!!!!

    • Walt says:

      Ben Bishop is coming off of the IR list, and is expected to play tonight.  We can’t take this Tampa team lightly at all!!

  5. Walt says:

    Being in the weakest division of all, we should make the play-offs, and depending on how Hank is playing, we could be a tough team to play against.  To be honest with you all, I’d also feel compfortable with Talbot in goal, in case of an emergency!
    As stated by you guys on many occasions, we need a right handed d-man, and a bit more grit to go places.  When Dorsett gets back, he, along with Carcillo, and Boyle can form a decent 4th line.   They can generate some offense as well as forecheck, and be a shut down line.
    Do I see Girardi being traded, probably not this year.  His game has started to improve, and if there is any move on the D, MDZ will be the person moved.

  6. Andres says:

    Hoping we can continue the streak tonight, what happens when dorrsett is ready? Who comes out?

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      I would guess Carcillo and Moore are put on rotation depending on matchup. Put Carcillo in when we need tougness/agitation (vs Philly, Columbus, etc) and Moore when we need more of a shutdown 4th line to play against skilled teams (vs Chicago,  Pittsburg, San Jose).
      It’ll be interesting to see who would be looked on more favorably for some of the teams in the league which are big AND skilled, a la the Kings, Bruins, Blues, etc.

  7. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I would trade Staal and Del Zotto before I would trade Girardi. My reason is I do not think Staal wants to resign with the Rangers. My gut tells me he is gonna sign with Carolina to play with his brothers. If Staal decides he wants to stay a True Blue then obviously I would not trade him.

  8. SalMerc says:

    As in all trades, they need to look at the short and long term effect of them move. Will they need CAP space next year? Do they need one trait (in a player) that can push them through the playoffs this year? Can the loss of either MDZ or DG be softened by the return and the farm?  I am not sure Dylan McGrath is ready, but Colin (something) seemed more than adequate. Bring me in a right-handed, puck moving defenseman and a pesky sniper and I would move one or both.

  9. kevshockey says:

    Really the question for Sather needs to be, is this team closer to winning a cup with Girardi on the roster or traded at the deadline?  I see the reason for optimism in the recent stretch of good games but at this point I still only see them as maybe a 1 round winning team.  If the return for Girardi strengthens the team organizationally with 3 really good assets.  If Sather thinks for a second Girardi is going to walk, or that he should let him walk because he doesn’t fit his new coach’s system… Then the deal should happen.  He can always try and resign him in the offseason. 
    While they could definitely pull it off because anything can happen.  Caps>Pens>Bruins>Ducks in that order is how things shake out right now with no upsets along the way.  Of course there will be upsets but who knows.  I think the argument can easily be made to move Girardi for the assets and retool for a run next season with players that fit AVs system better.  This is assuming that Sather knows he isn’t going to resign Girardi to his one and only shot at a break the bank deal.  

    • SalMerc says:

      All good points. I also think that Sather’s tenure here may play a role as well. If he is in his last year, then maybe he makes the short-term moves and “goes-for it”.  If he will be around for another year, he needs to take a real assessment of the team in 2014 vs. possible 2015.

      • kevshockey says:

        You may have a point there, but Slats isn’t going to retire he’ll just go up and let someone else play GM. He’ll just be the president of hockey ops or whatever his other title is. 

    • Gary says:

      Big talk in Boston about Danny G.  They virtually have him penciled in next to Chara, not missing a beat with Sidenberg down.  I don’t want Marchand.  So who do they offer?  McQuaid and Reilly Smith?  McQuaid and Krug?  I’d take Reilly Smith (B’s sell high?) and 1st, maybe.  Smith and Krug?  I am not that big on Krug, but he’d make an already good PP scary.
      Girardi has been playing so much better lately, so I don’t want to see him go.  But I don’t think he is so necessary as to lose him for nothing in FA.  With Staal and MacD back there, as long as we get a good D back in the deal I think it should be done (only if Sather doesn’t think he can sign him for reasonable bucks).

      • SalMerc says:

        Any chance we can pry Jarome Iginla away? Maybe give them Girardi and a high pick

        • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

          Why would the Rangers do that?  If they were going to trade Girardi it would be to retool the team, not to trade a high pick and get a (very) aging vet.  Iginla is a shell of his former self.  There were cap reasons for the move, but the Bruins are not as good a team after replacing Nathan Horton with Jarome Iginla. 

          No thanks.

        • TxRanger says:

          if they offered him and wanted like Valentenko or Kris Newbury…

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        I hear the chatter also.  I’m just not sure there’s a fit.  I’m not a fan of Marchand either as it’s now been back to back subpar years.  Reilly Smith is a left-handed 3rd liner, and the Bruins would doing exactly that: trading him high.

          A defenseman would have to be in the deal, a right-handed one at that since Girardi is right-handed, and it’s already a weakness. 
        Krug’s nice, but he’s an undersized left-handed shot, not exactly filling a need.  Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuck are good players, but not enough alone for Girardi in my opinion.
        Now if we’re talking Dougie Hamilton, now I’m listening.  Unlikely Boston trades their 20 year old NHLer though.

  10. scrangersfan says:

    I agree that the Rangers will make the play offs but I predict a very short run. There are a lot of teams out there with a lot more fire power but it’s just my opinion.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I will say this, anything’s possible in the East.  It’s Boston (not as good as last year’s team) and Pitt (question mark in the playoffs) as the co-favorites.  It’s plausible a good run could have the Rangers making the SC finals.
      Half the teams in the West scare the bejesus out of me however.

      • AD says:

        Sell, Mortimer, sell!
        Let’s face it: this team is not getting through Pittsburgh or Boston; and probably will not get beyond the first round.  They may be competitive during first round, but odds are they do not extend further into the playoffs.
        Sell Girardi, Callahan, Boyle and Pouliot — they all have value to top seeded playoff teams that no other teams will be willing to pay.  Del Zotto is more of a hockey trade; different issue than our UFAs.

  11. Frank Cerbone says:

    MDZ is playing a whole lot better now that he has requested that Vigneault return him to the left side.  The Tortorella/Vigneault experiement has ended.  It may have worked with McDonough on the left & MDZ on the right side, but it would have curtailed McDonough’s offensive progression.
    No doubt MDZ , now at -4, will back to being a plus player in a couple of weeks.  Unfortunately, MDZ is if a mind set that Rangers have been playing around with him for 4 years.  That has got to be fixed….fast.
    Girardi needs to be resigned..he’s a minutes eater, and he never misses a gm.
    Stralman/Staal doesn’t work….Stralman works best with MDZ, but MDZ is AOK with Moore on his right.
    Man on the outs is Staal…who has struggled for 3 years in a row now with Girardi, MDZ, & Stralman.  There is no one else to pair with Staal…who remains at a minus 9, Stralman, a minus 8.
    Trading Staal will freeup enough cash to resign Girardi and Moore/MDZ can be taken care of in the offseason as RFAs.  If Rangers lose one of MDZ/Moore to an offer sheet they won’t match right handed defenseman David Savard is an option.  David Savard is 23, 6-2,210 and Moore couldn’t beat him out of a job at Columbus.
    Fixing things is not hard, it’s just that both Sather & Dolan are not the brightest lights in the forest.  For years I suggested Rangers trade for Andrew Cogliano, who has never missed a gm in the NHL, 2nd fastest player in the NHL.  Well Anaheim got him for a #2 and Cogliano is better than anything the Rangers have at center.

    • RangerSmurf says:

      Cogliano’s not a center.   He played center with Edmonton.  He was a giant trainwreck, but that management team stinks and kept him there without ever moving him to wing.
      Anaheim took all of about 30 games to figure out he wasn’t a center, moved him to wing, and now he’s a decent player.  
      You’d think given he’s like your favorite player on the planet, you might know a little bit about his career other than “gee, he’s fast.”

  12. Frank Cerbone says:

    Ranger Smurf-for those of you who have been following NHL hockey only since this morning…..Cogliano 1) has never EVER missed a game in the NHL in like 7 years, 2) IN the NHL rookies skills competition Cogliano’s time trials have only ever been exceeded by Carl Hagelin, 3) Cogliano is an absolutely great forchecker, & I mean great forchecker.
    Cogliano has only one negative….he’s not good on faceoffs, and that role belongs to team mate Koivu who mans the center position on faceoffs. 

  13. Frank Cerbone says:

    Wonder whatever happened to Tim Erixon who Sather & Gordie Clark ranked as one of the top 10 available players in the draft & ABSOLUTELY STOLE HIM FROM CALGARY who would not sign him & so Erixon was going back into the draft. Sather & Clark had followed Erixon’s development for years & Erixon was raised in Port Chester, NY.  Rangers only had to pay two #2 draft choices to secure this great talent that Calgary no longer thought was an NHL prospect.  Fast forward 2 years, Erixon cannot make the NHL & is relegated to a Columbus AHL team, is a RFA @ $900 K, $200K more than starting right handed Columbus defenseman David Savard.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Prospects bust all the time.  But don’t forget he’s also only 22 and the Columbus blue line is a decent unit.  It does look good now that the Rangers got something for him, though (part of the Nash trade).

    • Dave says:

      I fail to see your point. What does Erixon have to do with anything?