Rangers fans can breathe a little easier today as Michael Del Zotto is just about back in the fold.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Rangers and their restricted free agent defenseman have tentatively agreed on a two-year contract. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports the deal is worth around $2.55 million per season.
While the deal is unsigned as of now, Del Zotto is at Rangers camp getting his medicals done. It was only yesterday that Rangers GM Glen Sather said it was imperative to have a deal done by today and to get into camp. It looks like that’s just what’s happening.
Update (11:35 a.m. ET): The Rangers tweeted confirmation they’ve signed Del Zotto. McKenzie confirms it’s a two-year deal worth $2.55 million per year.
Safe to say Rangers GM Glen Sather isn’t all that pleased with how contract negotiations are going with restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto.
Sather tells Larry Brooks of the New York Post that the team’s offer is more than fair and it’s time for him to make sure he gets to training camp.
“Michael has until [tomorrow] morning to figure this out, and I sure hope he does so he doesn’t have to miss any time,” Sather told The Post last night. “We’ve made Michael a very good and very fair offer.
“Sitting out is not going to help him in any way.”
Brooks says the offer is a two-year deal worth a bit more than $2.4 million per year. Del Zotto, meanwhile, apparently wants $3 million per season.
Teams can’t officially sign anyone until there’s a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the NHL and Players’ Association. The Sunday deadline Sather is talking about is the official start of training camp which can happen once the MOU is taken care of. That’s expected to be completed today.
Either way, Del Zotto isn’t earning any brownie points with the Rangers by playing hardball.
We’ve seen a host of other young players get locked up to long-term deals this summer (Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner) but one young guy still waiting on a new deal is Capitals defenseman John Carlson.
Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times caught up with the 22 year-old budding star blue liner and finds out his eyes aren’t straying away from D.C.
“I love Washington, I love being here, I stay here for a lot of the summer. I like my teammates, I like the rink, I like the fans,” he said. “I can’t imagine playing anywhere else.”
That’s good for Caps GM George McPhee to hear since he won’t have to worry too much about another team swooping in with an offer sheet. Carlson and fellow young defenseman Karl Alzner make up their solid shutdown pairing and with Carlson continuing to grow his game, locking him up long term should be in the Caps’ plans.
After scoring a total of 33 goals in his first two seasons, Jets forward Evander Kane could be the next big thing. It also means he could be asking for a healthy raise from the Jets and Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun says it’s time for Jets management to pay up.
He obviously deserves plenty more than than the $900,000 salary, $90,000 signing bonus, the $250,000 bonus he got for 30 goals and any other perks he might have received for his play. Give him a good chunk of money ($3 to $4 million per) for a few years, and by the end of that deal the real identity of Evander Kane will be known.
For what it’s worth, that $3-$4 million range would put him third on the team amongst forwards in cap hit and one of the five or six best-paid players on the team.
The question here, of course, is whether or not he’s worth that kind of financial commitment right now. Given the Jets’ offensive struggles, they may be in a similar situation to what they had with Ondrej Pavelec in that Kane is worth a lot to Winnipeg for what he does for them. If Kane keeps potting 30 goals a year, locking him up for $4 million a season might wind up being a bargain.
Now that Tim Thomas has decided to take next season off to spend with his “family, friends, and faith” Boston’s situation in goal just got a lot more interesting. Boston has Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin set to be their goaltending tandem next season but there’s one little problem: Rask is a restricted free agent this summer.
Getting Rask locked up to a long-term deal has become GM Peter Chiarelli’s biggest offseason task. The issue the Bruins have now, however, is Thomas’ departure gives Rask a lot more leverage to get what he wants.
For all intents and purposes, Thomas’ career in Boston is over with. His contract expires after next season and with his friends and family sabbatical taking him out of the picture, Rask is the No. 1 guy and he’s going to want to be paid like it.
Getting the right term and money for Rask, who proved back in 2009-10 he could handle himself just fine as a starter, will make for a fascinating story line to follow this summer. At the very least, Tim Thomas’ departure has helped make Boston’s offseason a lot more exciting.