Originally posted on NY Rangers Blog  |  Last updated 8/19/12
Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports that the Rangers and Michael Del Zotto (RFA) are not close to striking a deal.

Brooks adds that Negotiations are expected to intensify over the next couple of weeks.

The Blueshirts are believed to be offering a multi-year deal in the neighborhood of $2.2 million to $2.5 million per season.

Del Zotto's last contract paid him $1.087 million per.

...if Brooks is right, how much could Del Zotto be asking? $4 million per? Which would be ridiculous. I think a salary right in the middle would be fair. Four years at $3 million per. As a comparison, Girardi makes $3.4 million, while Staal makes $3.6 million.

...Del Zotto's first three seasons in the league have obviously been mixed, but I think the skills for him to become the Rangers power play quarterback of the future is there, so even if the Blueshirts have to bump their offer up a bit to $3 million per year, it would be worth it.

***

Brooks also gives us some great news on the health front, as there is scant optimism within the Rangers' camp that Michael Sauer will be cleared for a return to duty, even if this season's opener is delayed by months.

Sauer is feeling better but is not believed symptom-free. If he cannot play he would be placed on the long-term injury list.

...as we saw with Staal, even if Sauer returns for the beginning of the year, it will likely take him half the season to return to form and that's without any setbacks which are always a possibility. Look at Crosby.

***

Finally, Brooks says that Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin and Del Zotto (if signed) all would require waivers in order to be assigned to the AHL Whale in the event of a lockout, if the NHL and NHLPA operate under the guidelines that were in place in 2004-05 .

On that same note, Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park mentions that the Rangers might keep JT Miller in juniors this season not to use a year of his Entry Level Contract during a lockout.

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