The Rangers are one of five teams currently competing in the “Justin Schultz Sweepstakes”. I don’t know how good their chances are of acquiring him, but I do know if he was acquired he would be able to instantly jump into the NHL. This is a very good thing.
Justin Schultz plays the role of an offensive defenseman, and according to some scouting reports, he would be able to quarterback an NHL power play. The Rangers can use a bit of offense from their blue line, and he would certainly be a welcomed addition. But in his case, does he push some people out of a roster spot?
When thinking about this Michael Del Zotto comes to mind. He’s definitely made strides both offensively an defensively, but could the acquisition of Schultz maybe make Sather want to deal Del Zotto for a scorer? That seems perfectly reasonable to me depending on how high the Rangers brass are on Schultz, and what they think Del Zotto’s ceiling can be.
Personally, if trading Del Zotto in a package meant getting a guy like Bobby Ryan I’d be very tempted to do the deal. Del Zotto to me is currently the 5th best defender on the Rangers counting Michael Sauer, and maybe even the 6th best with Tim Erixon waiting in the wings. In my mind a deal for a player of Bobby Ryan’s caliber should not be held up because the Rangers are unwilling to trade one of the worse defenders on the team.
This past trade deadline I would have been unwilling to trade Del Zotto at all due to the Rangers current situation on defense. Now that maybe the Rangers can add Justin Schultz, and have Tim Erixon waiting for a roster spot one must think they’d be more willing to trade Del Zotto. With the drafting of Brady Skjei, and Dylan Mcilrath’s development Del Zotto may be pushed out of a roster spot down the road anyway even if Justin Schultz doesn’t come to New York.
At the deadline last year the Kings traded Jack Johnson (Who is worse defensively than Del Zotto) for Jeff Carter to give the Kings the extra boost to win the Stanley Cup. We all saw how that turned out. The Rangers could very well end up in a similar situation with Del Zotto this summer or next season’s trade deadline if they think they have a player who can replace his production.