|The Rangers drafted Del Zotto 20th overall in 2008. (Getty Images)|
We knew the first order of business for a few teams in the new CBA would be re-signing some restricted free agents. The New York Rangers were the first to do so.
The Rangers were unable to reach a deal with defenseman Michael Del Zotto before the lockout. So coming out of the stoppage, GM Glen Sather set out to get a contract signed and get Del Zotto into camp. That's what they did early Sunday with a two-year contract.
The Fourth Period reported the financial terms:
Told Del Zotto's 2-year deal is worth just over $2.5M per— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) January 13, 2013
That is what we would call a steal for the Rangers. Or at least a good deal.
Del Zotto isn't the strongest NHL defenseman in his own zone -- even while playing for John Tortorella -- but he can contribute on offense. In 77 games for the Rangers last season, Del Zotto had 10 goals to go with 31 assists while carrying a plus-20 (if you care for that). All the while, he averaged 22:26 of ice time.
In other words, it seemed like it could be a recipe for a pretty nice pay day for Del Zotto. I'm not scoffing at roughly $2.5 million per season one bit, but I thought it might be a little higher than that.
What the contract doesn't offer is a long-term situation, but it also means Del Zotto will still be under the Rangers' control when it comes time for another new contract. It essentially will be a season-and-a-half extended tryout to show some more improvement and be worthy of a bigger contract.
It will be interesting to see what this deal does for the other RFAs out there, mainly fellow defensemen P.K. Subban and Dmitry Kulikov. Neither of them appears close to a new contract, but you know teams will be using this Del Zotto deal in comparison to try to gauge a value for their players.