Unable to get a contract extension from the New York Rangers, Michael Del Zotto has found the next best thing — signing in the Swiss league for the Rapperswill-Jona Lakers.
News of the signing was reported Wednesday on the Rapperswill website, announcing the 22-year-old blueliner would join the National League A team on a lockout deal.
The signing is going to raise eyebrows on this side of the Atlantic as Del Zotto, a restricted free agent, will play in Switzerland without an NHL contract.
Negotiations with the Rangers went throughout the summer and at times got acrimonious — in September, GM Glen Sather predicted Del Zotto would eventually “come to his senses” and agree to the reported $2-2.5 million deal the Rangers were offering.
But either Del Zotto never came his senses, or Sather felt he didn’t come far enough. The two sides weren’t able to work anything out prior to the Sept. 15 CBA expiration, leaving Del Zotto (and a handful of other RFAs) without deals.
As for the Rapperswil signing…
Del Zotto will join Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza with the Lakers — Spezza signed on with the club back in mid-September. The team also features ex-Avalanche goalie David Aebischer, former Minnesota forward Robbie Earl and former Blues winger Peter Sejna.