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.
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The Rangers will have the Greenville Road Warriors as their ECHL affiliate for at least one more season. The Greenville website posted that they have renewed their agreement with the Rangers for the 2012-2013 season, which will be their third season with the Rangers. The Rangers initially agreed to have the Greenville club as their ECHL affiliate when the Charlotte Checkers left to be the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate.
Aaron Portzline, who did a fantastic job covering the Rick Nash trade, has an inside scoop that as many as eight owners might be willing to accept the NHLPA’s proposal as is. While this is not the unanimous approval that many are hoping for, it’s at least hope that the owners are divided. We don’t know the exact details of the NHLPA proposal, but we do know that it had some sort of revenue sharing system in place, and it kept the salary cap in place. My guess is that some of the lower-funded teams would readily accept more revenue sharing, as they are the ones that need the money to stay afloat.
The Connecticut Whale released their schedule this week as well. It would be really cool if MSG airs the Whale games if there’s an NHL lockout.
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It’s a musings day folks. With little Ranger specific news let’s just get into it and talk about anything and everything, ok?
What side of the CBA war do you side with? It’s hard to link arms with the owners and the league, a league that has come across as incredibly greedy through the media. Are they greedy? Was the last CBA that bad that they had to resort to extreme measures?
Is there a public figure or leader – in sports or entertainment – with as negative a public reputation as Gary Bettman? He’s actually done a solid job over the years. Despite stretching it too far, expansion has been a relative (and necessary) success for the league; he has grown the sport immeasurably and has proven a strong leader in the face of challenges such as the KHL and on matters such as the Olympics. That said, if his reign ended tomorrow he’d be considered greedy, too stubborn and arrogant.
Do you think the public appearance of players such as Crosby, Ovechkin or Lundqvist influences the NHLPA’s position or media and fan bias in the CBA talks?
We discussed how the Flyers may be a competitor for the Rangers for blueliners going forward. Right now the Canadiens cannot get PK Subban to ink a new deal. Well, is there anyone more suited to the Flyers mould than? Cocky yet talented, considered a pretty dirty player but an offensive threat Subban may be more of a target for Flyers than Michael Del Zotto would be.
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Despite enduring a wretched summer, the Philadelphia Flyers manage to inconvenience the Rangers. On top of all their bad news the Flyers have had this off season came the recent announcement that veteran defenseman Andreas Lilja would miss at least the start of the next season, assuming it starts on time.
How does this affect the Rangers? Now, more than ever the Flyers will be looking to add defensive help to their roster. Ideally the Flyers are looking for an impact player, something that the Rangers aren’t desperate for, but the Flyers – given the scarcity of talent available – might have to be content with adding depth and a veteran to plug a whole, short term. In short, the Flyers are likely to compete with the Rangers for any and every viable blueliner over the next few weeks and months.
The Rangers top four is set, and ideally Mike Sauer and Anton Stralman will round out the blueline giving the Rangers enviable depth. However, with Mike Del Zotto’s contract situation, Sauer’s ongoing health concerns, injuries to kids like Dylan McIlrath and the lack of trust John Tortorella appears to have with Stu Bickel, competition promises to be minimal right now on the blueline come camp time.
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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.
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Only five players have scored more goals than Rick Nash since 2003-2004. His 272 goals is indeed an impressive total. To date, Nash has scored 83 powerplay goals in his NHL career, a number that would surely have been larger had he had a better supporting cast during his time in Columbus.
While Nash only scored six powerplay goals in each of the last two seasons that number should grow when considering the presence of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and players such as Ryan Callahan and Mike Del Zotto on the power play.
Nash is a legitimate threat who is not afraid to shoot the puck, something that the Rangers powerplay hasn’t nearly done enough. With over 300 shots per season over the last two years Nash comes to a Rangers team with players to feed him the puck unlike in Columbus. The premise is that with more opportunity should come more production.
Perhaps the biggest Achilles heel of the Rangers last year was their ineffective powerplay. The presence of Nash adds elite skill, makes the team bigger, more trigger happy but also from a personnel point of view, deeper on the powerplay. The big winger will bump several players down onto a second unit, and will round out a first powerplay unit that should be explosive.
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The conversations this summer have mainly focused on the Rangers forwards. With three forwards departing, three (four if you include the AHL-bound Michael Haley) coming on board, and the never-ending discussions about Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan, Alex Semin, and Shane Doan, it’s easy to see why the focus is on scoring and depth.
However some of the biggest concerns during the postseason were about the depth on defense. Stu Bickel was barely playing, and the five other defensemen were struggling to keep their legs under them while playing shorthanded throughout the playoffs. The Rangers need depth or growth. With Michael Sauer out, and no major signings pending, the answers appear to have to come from within.
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The musings are a day late today, but that’s only because all of the big news happened yesterday. Don’t blame us, blame everyone else for not making all this stuff happen before Thursday. I swear, everyone else is to blame, not us!
So Sidney Crosby gets $104.4 million over 12 years. From a hockey standpoint, that is a very risky contract. Crosby has had significant concussion issues, and could be one poorly placed hit away from early retirement. From a business standpoint, it’s a savvy investment in the face of the franchise. For an average of $8.7 million per season, the Pens get to keep their boy in Pittsburgh and reap the marketing benefits of having him there. They make more off him than he does off them, that’s for sure.
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When trade rumors begin to surface, many begin to panic. It’s not unexpected to see this panicking, as the Rangers were so close last season to playing for the Stanley Cup, it makes you wonder what management will do to make that next step. Per Larry Brooks, the organization has dubbed seven key players as “untouchable” in their search for scoring:
The Rangers, who are believed to have quarantined Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Derek Stepan (in addition to Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist)…
Mentioning Cally, Girardi, and Lundqvist is just a formality, as these are guys in or entering their prime who are core pieces for the Rangers. As for the first four mentioned by Brooks, those names are expected to be deemed as “untouchable.” If the Rangers were open to moving any of them, the return would have to be monstrous.
McDonagh was a given for the status of untouchable because of the impact he’s made on the roster. McDonagh emerged as a top pairing defender when Marc Staal went down with his concussion, and stayed there even when Staal returned. The pairing of McDonagh and Girardi is one of the best shutdown pairs in the game today. Throw in the fact that McDonagh has yet to tap into his offensive potential, and we could be looking at a Norris winner in the future.
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In keeping up with the offseason trend of articles here at BSB, we wanted to take some time to discuss locking up perhaps the most important free agents on the market, our own. Michael Del Zotto finished up his entry-level deal this season, which was a three year deal at just under $1.1M per season. This summer the 21 year old is a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights.
Obviously MDZ rebounded to have a great third season in the pros, scoring 10 goals and 41 points after a subpar sophomore outing. Clearly he still needs to improve defensively, but even that aspect of his game took a step forward this past season. This season Torts gave Michael a lot of rope and used him in all game situations.
So what will Del Zotto’s next deal look like?
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