Del Zotto Re-Signs

Here’s something that I missed while I was away.  Del Zotto re-signed.  From ESPN’s Matt Ehalt:

As a restricted free agent, he had declined to sign a qualifying offer and had no arbitration rights, giving him little leverage in negotiations. A source told ESPNNewYork.com that Del Zotto had a physical Sunday, and he practiced with the team. He wasn’t nervous that the two sides would be able to come to an agreement before the Rangers had their first practice.

“Both sides, once we first talked, said we wanted to get something done as soon as possible, we didn’t want to miss any more time than the lockout has done,” Del Zotto said. “I wasn’t worried at all, it was a matter of timing and I’m glad it worked out the way it did.”

The 22-year-old is coming off the finest season of his young career. He led the team’s defensemen with 41 points, a career-high, and posted a plus-20 plus/minus mark on the season. Del Zotto also notched career-highs in goals and assists, and tallied 10 points in the playoffs, including two goals.

I quibble with just one thing in this article.  OK, two things.  First, I think saying that he had “no leverage” misses the mark a little bit.  I think that the case for his leverage was made in the last part that I clipped out there.  He’s coming off of his best season, and when that happens, you’re always going to pay peak value for someone.  This happens ALL THE TIME in professional sports.  It happens so often, I probably don’t even need to name anyone.  You’re probably already thinking of 5 people that signed contracts well above their true value because they were coming off of a big season.  This leads me to the second bit I’d quibble with.

I think $2.55 million for 2 years is way too much, even if his agent was asking for closer to $3MM.  He should be closer to $2MM, I think.  With the Redden buyout coming (more on this later), maybe they’re not as concerned about the cap next year as they maybe should be.  I’m not certain about that, because I’m not in the room, but let’s say they want to add a piece at the deadline next year.  Does this $500K hamstring them next year?  Probably not, but maybe.  Maybe they need a 3rd liner and need room to add the salary.  That $500K could make the difference.

Overall, of course this signing is great.  The stability that he provides on the back line is huge.  The Rangers defensive depth is insane.  Girardi, Staal, McD, MDZ and Stralman is a pretty stacked top 5.  The #6 guy is either Eminger or Bickel, or perhaps both of them on a matchups basis, plus Gilroy (news of his signing also in the article above)  if you need him.

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