Breaking Down Trade and Free Agency Rumors Surrounding New York Rangers

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIJuly 10, 2013

Breaking Down Trade and Free Agency Rumors Surrounding New York Rangers

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    The New York Rangers were pretty quiet during the beginning of the offseason, making a few depth signings and trades.

    As such, there's not a whole lot of buzz surrounding the team.

    Still, there is some important business for the Rangers to take care of.

    What's the latest surrounding the Rangers?

    Read on to find out.

Restricted Free Agents

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    After re-signing Ryan McDonagh, the Rangers still need to take care of their other restricted free agents. 

    It would be a shock if the Rangers don't re-sign Derek Stepan or Carl Hagelin. The Rangers would not have traded for Justin Falk if they did not plan on signing him.

    The only question mark is Mats Zuccarello, who we'll get to in the next slide.

    Obviously, the sooner the Rangers can get these guys signed, the better. They're all adjusting to a new coach, and they need to be in training camp to maximize their preparations.

    The parties involved will haggle over money. The Rangers, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, have about $6-to-8 million in cap space.

    An offer sheet is unlikely, since it's generally frowned upon in the league. Stepan would be the most likely to receive an offer sheet. In that case, the Rangers would match, but it could, as Jesse Spector of the Sporting News writes, make them vulnerable to losing Carl Hagelin.  

Mats Zuccarello

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    The addition of Benoit Pouliot could mean the end of Mats Zuccarello.

    As Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes:

    The Rangers’ bargain aisle signings of free agents Dominic Moore and Aaron Johnson added depth to a roster that needs it, but management likely perceives the addition of Benoit Pouliot as more meaningful than that, perhaps signaling the end of Mats Zuccarello’s tour of Broadway.

    Pouliot is a really underrated player. He scored eight goals and had 12 assists last season. He's much bigger than Zuccarello, and he can play in all situations.

    Zuccarello is a feisty, creative player, but he's really only valuable on the power play. He scored three goals and had five assists last season.

    Zuccarello is a restricted free agent, but with limited cap space, it may be worth letting him go. Pouliot is a better, more well-rounded player, with more offensive upside. 

Michael Del Zotto

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    According to Sean Hartnett of CBS Sports, New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto could potentially be on the trading block. 

    As Hartnett explains:

    Since Sather decided to delay his decision buy out Brad Richards until another summer, the Rangers are saddled with his $6.67 million cap hit in 2013-14.

    Whether or not Richards can rediscover his renowned playmaking abilities is a story for another day. Right now, Sather must exercise some cap relief if he wishes to improve his roster. That $6.67 number isn’t being erased through the Rangers’ final compliance buy out, so another player will have to pack his bags.

    The Rangers can afford to lose Del Zotto. With improved defensive depth, Del Zotto is going to have to fight to keep the fifth spot. Right now, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Anton Stralman are all ahead of him.

    With John Moore, Justin Falk, Aaron Johnson and even Dylan McIlrath all candidates to play significant minutes, Del Zotto could become expendable.

    They could probably get a decent package for the young defenseman. Del Zotto is still a work in progress in his own zone and while he should be allowed more freedom to join the rush, he has yet to show consistency on offense.

    The Rangers could survive without Del Zotto and could use him as a way to improve the rest of the roster.