Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto, 22, a restricted free agent, avoided a training camp holdout by re-signing early Sunday morning to a two-year deal.
The details were still being worked on in the hour prior to the first practice of camp.
Del Zotto, who finished fifth on the team last season with 41 regular-season points, was the only unsigned Ranger with hours to go before the start of training camp. He would not have been allowed to participate until he signed, and without arbitration rights, he would have remained under the club’s control until he inked or the team sought a trade.
The creative defenseman, valuable especially on the Rangers’ four-on-four and power play setups, took a chance when he opted not to re-sign prior to the NHL lockout that began on Sept. 16.
Del Zotto’s agents and the Rangers resumed negotiations last Tuesday after the league and players’ union had all-but-sealed the new collective bargaining agreement. But they remained at odds on the dollar figures, even though at the end they both were talking about a two-year deal.