The New York Rangers have a couple of different offseason decisions to make this summer. Right now the Rangers' brass is currently meeting to discuss those issues. The top priority? Finding a new coach. The next priority? Discussing whether or not to buy out Brad Richards.
Once those decisions are made the Rangers will begin addressing roster moves. Remember, there aren't going to be many personel decisions (if any at all) made until the Rangers have a new coach. Glen Sather has to get a feel for what type of system his new coach is going to use and what players fill the needs of that style.
But once all of that is sorted out the Rangers will have another decision to make. What to do with Michael Del Zotto.
For full disclosure, the Rangers don't have to do anything with Del Zotto. He's under contract through next year and while he regressed last year there is some thought that he might bounce back in a more offensive system. So keeping in mind that the Rangers don't have to do anything with Del Zotto, they might still make the call to dangle him on the trade market.
John Moore might make this move more possible, but I'm still not sold on giving up on Del Zotto because of Moore. Both defenseman are 22, you simply don't know what you have in either of them (as much as many of you think you know). Del Zotto might take a huge step forward. He might take a huge step back. You just don't know.
But if the right move is there why not move Del Zotto? He has value on the open market and will be attractive to some teams who lack defensive depth.
One of those teams is the Edmonton Oilers, a team with a plethora of young forwards and a need for some defensive depth. The Oilers have a bunch of big, young names on their roster; a lot of players who at some point in their careers are going to be getting a nice payday. The writing is kind of on the wall as it is. The Oilers are already looking to ship off Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff. They're also looking into possibly moving their 7th overall pick, so some changes are brewing.
This is purely speculation, of course, but it would make some sense to see Del Zotto (if he's moved) go to Edmonton. The Oilers can use a young defenseman who can give you 17-20 minutes a game and put points on the board. He's seasoned when it comes to the playoffs (at least for such a young defenseman) and there's still a ton of upside.
So what would the Rangers want in return? Probably a young forward who can make an impact right now. I doubt the Rangers would want to make a move for a draft pick, even one as high as 7th overall in this draft. The Rangers are not rebuilding, they need a player back. Preferably one who can make a difference right now.
Sam Gagner fits that bill. Gagner, 23, was second on the Oilers with 38 points (14 goals) in 48 games. he has been in the league for six years despite his young age -- and seemed to come into his own this year; taking a major step forward in goals, assists and points. He would solidify the Rangers down the middle, especially if they remove Richards from the fold. And with Marc Staal hopefully on his way to being healthy, Dylan McIlrath in the minors potentially ready to take the next step and a couple of options on either the free agent or the trade market, the Rangers might be able to part ways with Del Zotto.
I still think the Rangers should hold onto Del Zotto, especially since Staal's health is still a question mark. I think he has a lot to offer this team, and I am one of the people who thinks he might take the next step with a new (more offensive) coach. But if Del Zotto was the centerpiece of a deal for a player like Gagner then it's well worth it in my eyes. But I think it is clear the Rangers are going to be looking for young talent back in return if they do move him.
What are your thoughts on this?