RUMOR: Rangers Still Shopping Del Zotto ; Leafs and Senators Interested

Rangers General Manager Glen Sather is still shopping defenseman Michael Del Zotto, with the Senators and Maple Leafs interested, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.

The Senators have previously shown interest in Del Zotto but failed to offer a return of any intrique to Sather. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, are a new team to emerge on the Del Zotto rumor front. 

Del Zotto, 23, has seven points in 26 games this season with the Rangers.

Dreger reports that Eric Gryba, Joe Corvo, and Patrick Wiercioch, all defensemen, are players that Ottawa may be dangling. Gryba was previously believed to be offered by Ottawa, with the Rangers turning away. Corvo is a 36-year-old journeyman defenseman who offers a bit of offensive upside but will do nothing to pry Del Zotto away. Wiercioch is a bit more intriguing. A 23-year-old offensive defenseman, Wiercioch was a 2nd round pick in 2008 and has 12 points through 26 games this season. I'm still not sure he is a comparable value to Del Zotto, however.

The Leafs might be the more plausible match here. Cody Franson and Jake Gardiner are two young defensemen with similar upside to Del Zotto who have played themselves down the depth chart in Toronto. Gardiner, 23, is similar to Del Zotto in that he has struggling to find his place consistently in the starting lineup and is not playing up to standards of past seasons. Franson, meanwhile, is a 26-year-old who was nearly not retained while a restricted free agent this past summer. Either defenseman would be a quality pickup for the Rangers. Gardiner is a similar defenseman to Ryan McDonagh in that he's a very good skater and does a lot of things very well. Franson might be the more immediate fit for the Rangers, as he is a right handed stick who is a very good offensive defenseman capable of leading a powerplay from the point and unleashing some big shots. 

Dreger cautions that either player might be two high of a price for the Leafs, but does not convincingly rule them out, either. If you're into fun little connections that might make a match a bit easier, Del Zotto grew up about 45 minutes outside of Toronto and played his junior hockey in the area as well. Jake Gardiner, meanwhile, played at the University of Wisconsin with Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan.

 

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