Michael Del Zotto has not had a great 2013-14 season.
When will the saga of Michael Del Zotto and the New York Rangers come to a close? Seriously, when will Del Zotto be traded, or be left alone to try and find his game? Del Zotto will be scratched for Friday night’s contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second straight game, and it marks his eighth scratch during the Rangers’ last 24 games.
The organization's treatment of the 23-year-old defender has been questionable at best, and it doesn’t make sense to scratch the puck-moving defender for the remainder of the season. Therefore, it appears that this will be discussed when the Rangers arrive in Toronto on Saturday.
Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted the following, and Larry Brooks of the New York Post confirmed it on Friday afternoon
Rangers in Toronto tomorrow. Expect Del Zotto's agents (Newport) to meet with NYR's brass to discuss Rangers continued efforts to trade him.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 3, 2014
With this in mind, could Del Zotto be dealt very soon?
At this point, you would think so because the process has been more drawn out that necessary, but guess again! Although it would be professional for the Rangers to move their 2008 first-round draft pick, it wouldn't really benefit the organization.
Right now, Del Zotto’s stock is at an all-time low because he hasn’t played particularly well this season. Through 32 games, Del Zotto has two goals and five assists for seven points, and he is a minus nine.
Because of this, no team is willing to part with anything of meaning for this depreciated asset.
Therefore, expect Del Zotto to be a Ranger until general manager Glen Sather gets an offer he likes, even if that doesn't work for all parties involved. The Rangers are set to face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, and as previously stated, Del Zotto's agents want to meet with Sather at some point before the game.
Although that is what Newport Sports want, it may not happen. According to Larry Brooks, that may be a problem because of the inclement weather that impacted the New York area on Friday.
The hoped-for meeting, confirmed by The Post following an initial TSN report on Twitter, may be imperiled by weather and travel issues as Sather was in New York on Friday, scheduled to meet the club either here later in the day or Saturday in Toronto for the Blueshirts’ match against the Maple Leafs.
This presents an issue, but that shouldn't prevent Sather from extending the courtesy of a phone call to his maligned defender's representation. It is very important for Sather to handle this situation very delicately because the Rangers have other business with Newport Sports.
Del Zotto is represented by two of the NHL's most powerful agents, Don Meehan and Pat Morris. The pair of super agents represent Steven Stamkos, P.K. Subban, David Backes, Henrik Lundqvist, Brad Richards and Dan Girardi, a player Sather will have to negotiate a new contract with very soon.
History has shown that Sather rules with a tight fist, and that he doesn't succumb to the pressure of player agents. During the preseason, Sather publicly slammed then-unsigned RFA Derek Stepan and his agent during a televised broadcast, so it is clear that the veteran executive will do what he wants, when he wants. (h/t Pat Leonard)
While this may be Sather's history, he needs to keep in mind that he won't be in charge forever. It is very possible that this could be the last season that the 70-year-old is in charge of the team. In December, Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, reported that the future was up in the air for Sather and the Rangers.
There isn’t much talk of Glen Sather and the Rangers moving forward, there is some talk about Bryan Murray getting an extension in Ottawa but how about the other 70 year old in New York. There is a lot of talk about whether he wants to go into next season as the general manager or will he relinquish some of that power. So yea, there is some speculation about some changes coming to New York.
If that is the case, Sather should do his best to bring this situation to a close in a fashion that works out for both sides, especially if his time with the Rangers is limited.
Assistant GM Jeff Gorton—former GM of the Boston Bruins— is a prime candidate to succeed Sather, and he could remake the team this summer if he takes over. The Blueshirts have a number of free agents this summer, and there is no guarantee that they will all be re-signed.
It appears that all the involved parties are at a crossroads. The Rangers' season is at a crossroads as they prepare to play their 42nd and 43rd games this weekend. Michael Del Zotto's career is also at a crossroads, as he is in the roughest patch of his career to date, and Sather could be nearing retirement.
As previously stated, there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of the Rangers roster, and Del Zotto is in the thick of it. Del Zotto is a player that could either be a big part of the team's future on the roster, or he could just as easily be traded to the highest bidder.
What should the Rangers do with Del Zotto
Before any deals are made, the Rangers need to realize that this Del Zotto's fifth season. Three years from now when Del Zotto will be entering his prime, he will be in his eighth season.
Although he is struggling right now, his previous success outweighs his current struggles. Nonetheless, he has continued to be the odd man out time, and time again in 2013-14.
At the very least, Del Zotto should be given a chance to work out of his current funk, but it doesn't appear that he will get that chance. It almost seems like it is a fait accompli that Del Zotto will be dealt, and three or four years from now, it could be a deal the team severely regrets.