Although the NHL lockout is all but finished, Rangers fans have another negotiation to keep a close eye on.

The team and defenseman Michael Del Zotto were unable to come to terms prior to the Sept. 15 lockout, and thus the two sides must find common ground over the next week and a half to strike a new deal.

“It’s not a normal circumstance with half the season gone,” Del Zotto said to Rangers Rants. “I’m in the same situation we were before. We’re just trying to get a deal that’s fair for both sides. I know I’m ready to play as soon as possible."

Del Zotto likened his current situation to that of the CBA talks. “It’s just like CBA negotiations, as long as we’re in the same room…” Del Zotto added. “You want something fair for both sides. Hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later.”

He declined to hint at whether or not a deal would be consummated before training camp begins, which is expected to be Saturday.

The Rangers and Del Zotto will come to a deal, and I believe it will happen before camp opens. Its imperative for all players to be involved in training camp in a season like this. If a player gets off on the wrong foot, they could be in a mess of trouble.

Del Zotto should skate with Marc Staal on the second pair, and be the top defenseman on the powerplay. Holding out would be a mistake in my estimation.

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