The Del Zotto contract scenario

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.

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  • Completely agree on the term and cap hit. Signing him to a longer deal is too risky, given his history. If it was a player like McD, I would be inclined to give him a monster deal.

  • Agree with this article. a 3-4 year deal averaging somewhere in the 2.5 million range annually is about right.

    • I’d be tempted, with the CBA in mind of course, to give him ‘just’ two years and see how he goes. You can always negotiate after the first year if he backs up the past season with further progression.

  • Lets be careful what we wish for. We do not have depth at the offensive D position in the system. If they do not sign him for 3+ years, look for a promising offensive prospect to be part of a deal to bring back a solid offensive defenseman.

    • I think DZ is a tremendous young player but just because of one promising season (which was a great bounce back year), and because of a lack of similar players close to NHL ready doesn’t mean you give him too much term. He still needs to develop his shot and provide greater consistency.

  • I can’t believe people think there is risk with Del Zotto. He had a great NHL season as a 19-year-old but struggled as a 20-year-old defenseman, and last year played terrific, got tons of playing time under a demanding coach.

    He is light years ahead of most defensemen his age. There is no reason to think he will not keep developing, and he is years away from his mid-20s. He has rare skills, not superstar skills, but solid high-level NHL offensive defensemen skills. You build around kids like him, and thankfully the team thinks more of him than the fanbase.

    • No one says he isn’t a key piece for the future and most do have a high opinion of him – myself included. But you have to earn a big deal. Its a lack of care in handing out contracts that gets teams into a mess. He still has a way to go before he’s elite even if you’re right and he did play well last year.

  • We have to lock him up, then next year do the same for McD. That will give us a solid pair for 3 or more years. There aren’t but a handful of young, very good defensemen. We have 2! We got far last year because of our defensive style. We are not a west coast team so “D” is significant. I trust Slats to manage the cap creatively.

  • Dubi and Callahan got 2 years and around 4m as their second deal. Given salary inflation since then, give him 2 years, $4.5 mil.

  • MDZ is a good d-man, not great, but could very well be!

    Knowing this, give the young man 3 years, $2, 2.5, 3 mil per year. This way he gets more as time goes by, and three years is long enough to see how he will develope. If they give him more right from the start, he has nothing to prove, and may regress. Why not an agreement like Staal got, and or Girardi, they earned their’s, let Mike earn his!!!!!

  • Look for Sather to go for a 4-yr deal — there are to many key players which become UFAs in 3 years (Gaborik, Callahan, Girardi, Hank). With the price of defenseman skyrocketing this summer, though, I’m not sure Del Zotto would want such a lengthy contract at $2.75mm per season. I expect this situation to get resolved around training camp, maybe during it.

  • Really?

    He hits, plays d, is fast and young.

    Staal will be bolting for Carolina in 3 years

    You better offer him something good.

  • If Sather & co. didnt believe in MDZ, they would have traded him to Columbus. This is a key player who will get a nice deal. Remember, they took their time with Staal’s deal as well. Del Zotto is a future all star, no question!

  • In terms of length, it seems to be Sather’s MO to only give two or three year deals to Rangers seeking their second NHL contract.

    Anisimov, Callahan, Dubinsky, Girardi, Sauer, and even Tyutin were all resigned to two year deals coming off their respective entry-level contracts. Only Staal received a 5 year contract, but he was one of the best defensive defensemen in the league at the time of the deal.

    In the end, I think Del Zotto gets two or three year deal worth $2.5-$3M per year.

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