2012 NHL Rumors: Michael Del Zotto All That's Left For New York Rangers' Defense

May 9, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto (4) shakes hands with fans while leaving the ice during pre game warm-ups prior to game six against the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

The New York Rangers signed Anton Stralman Thursday afternoon, avoiding arbitration with a two-year deal. Stralman marks the second defenseman signed by Glen Sather this offseason (Stu Bickel was the first) and leaves only one piece remaining for the Rangers' defensive corps, Michael Del Zotto.

But before we get to Del Zotto, let's take a quick look at Stralman. John Tortorella trusted Stralman when he sent down Tim Erixon and brought Stralman in for the Rangers' playoff run. Stralman thrived under the role, and played some great hockey for the Rangers down the stretch.

While his offense never fully came around, he was a solid defender and did score six points (three goals) in 20 playoff games. His role -- assume the team's fifth defenseman -- is an important one, especially if there are any issues with any of the top four.

Join me after the jump for more.

Now Sather needs to focus on Del Zotto. The Rangers' top offensive defenseman had a brilliant bounce-back year last season, compiling 10 goals and 31 assists for 41 points and adding 10 more points in the playoffs. In what ended up being a do-or-die year for Del Zotto, his defensive game saw vast improvements as did his responsibility with the team.

Working alongside Brad Richards, Del Zotto also improved his vision and passing abilities. Del Zotto's game also improved during the playoffs, impressing John Tortorella, and probably doing enough to make sure Glen Sather didn't include him in the deal for Rick Nash.

The Rangers obviously want Del Zotto back, and they want him to run their power play. He should improve in that regard, especially since he was mainly focused on his defensive game last season. The question, right now, is how many years and for how much.

So go ahead guys, what do you think Del Zotto is worth?

The floor is yours.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Blueshirt Banter

You must be a member of Blueshirt Banter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blueshirt Banter. You should read them.

Join Blueshirt Banter

You must be a member of Blueshirt Banter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blueshirt Banter. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker