The Rangers' 'untouchables' have been well documented. New York is unwilling to trade Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and Chris Kreider basically for anyone on the market.
But Pat Leonard at the NY Daily News believes another player, Michael Del Zotto, has also been added to that list.
Del Zotto, 22, had a bounce back season after one of the worst sophomore slumps in recent history. After a strong rookie season in 2009-10, Del Zotto took a leap backwards, which resulted in a demotion to the Connecticut Whale.
This season, though, the Stouffville, Ontario-native became a mainstay on the blueline for the Rangers, scoring 10 goals and 31 assists in 77 games. He finished the season with a plus-20 rating, up from a minus-20 in his rookie campaign.
The Rangers have to re-sign Del Zotto, who is a restricted free agent, but the team has plenty of cap-space to make that happen.
What does this all mean? Well, the Rangers are trying to acquire forward Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and having those four young players not involved in a trade makes things a bit difficult for Columbus GM Scott Howson to make a deal.
Leonard said the two bargaining chips for the Rangers would then move to 23-year-old winger Carl Hagelin and 19-year-old forward J.T. Miller, the team's first-round pick in 2011.
Nothing is imminent, as everthing hinders on where free agent Zach Parise ends up. But, once he finds a new home, the bidding for Nash will increase, which is trouble for the Rangers, who appear to be the front-runners for the 28-year-old sniper.
Del Zotto should be included on an untouchable list. I'd hold him higher than Stepan because finding a puck-moving defenseman who is as effective as Del Zotto is hard to come by. Stepan, although he has talent, will never be anything more than a second-line center as long as Brad Richards is in New York.
I still believe the Rangers need to land either Nash or Bobby Ryan, as this team is void of much offense, which in essence, cost them in the playoffs.
It's unknown when or with what organization Parise will sign, but once he does sign on the dotted line, expect everything to fall into place.