Rumors: More Del Zotto; No Interest in Havlat; Valuing Neil

Everyone's favorite rumor monger Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun says one of the reasons for the Rangers looking to move Michael Del Zotto is getting his $2.55M off the books. Garrioch then mentions the flexibility the Rangers will need to re-sign Henrik Lundqvist, who could command an eight-year deal in the $8-to-$9 million per-season range.

Garrioch adds that the Senators, Hurricanes, Oilers and Sharks have interest in Del Zotto, but the Rangers want a blueliner in return.

Larry Brooks at the New York Post says the need for a defenseman in return is necessitated by the uncertainty of re-signing UFAs Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman this offseason.

Del Zotto is an RFA at the end of the year.

…no idea why Garrioch is equating trading Del Zotto with opening up cap space to extend Lundqvist. He should know that Lundqvist's new contract wouldn't count until next season, so if the Rangers really needed the cap space they would just find a cheaper alternative to Del Zotto in the offseason.

…great point by Brooks on needing to get a defenseman in return in any Del Zotto deal, as the Rangers could really be caught with their pants around their ankles if both Girardi & Stralman look elsewhere this summer. Unless the organization is confident in McIlrath and Allen being NHL ready next season.

Meanwhile, contrary to recent rumors, Brooks notes that the Rangers have never inquired about the availability of Martin Havlat.

However, Garrioch contradicts that report by stating the Blueshirts have mild interest in the 32-year old winger.

…Brooks is known to spin his own rumor yarn, but I have full confidence in his Rangers sources to know whether or not the Blueshirts have contacted the Sharks about Havlat.

…as far as Havlat goes, I'm very happy to hear the Rangers aren't interested in a $5M per year, injury prone forward.

Finally, with Ottawa below .500 and sitting fifth in the wild card standings, Brooks says, despite having a no-limited trade clause, Chris Neil could have some value to teams looking to stack up with the big, bad Bruins, including the Rangers.

…i've already expressed my interest in the Rangers bringing in Neil. I know a lot of you despise the guy, but isn't that what makes him such an effective player? Assuming none of us were big fans of Avery before he came to town.

…biggest negative of bringing in the 34-year old Neil is that he still has two more years remaining on his contract with a AAV of $1.9M per.

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