Following up on the discussion yesterday about Michael Del Zotto’s waiver status, another player that is going to have waiver issues soon is none other than Mats Zuccarello. Much like Del Zotto, Zuccarello has a limited window on his waiver eligibility. The unfortunate part with Zuccarello is that his window is much shorter than Del Zotto’s, infact it’s almost half the length at just 18 games. After Zuccarello plays his 18th NHL game, he will no longer be exempt from waivers.
This poses the same issue that Del Zotto’s waiver status poses, should Zuccarello falter halfway through the season, he can no longer be sent to the AHL. It is also a guarantee that he would be claimed, as he has a lot of skill. Zuccarello’s problem is that his adjustments to the North American game haven’t caught up to his skill yet. When/If they do, he could be a dangerous player.
What does work in the Rangers favor is that they have a lot of extra forwards that can step in for Zuccarello should he miss the cut out of camp. Remember, it’s John Tortorella, he will give Zuccarello every possible shot to make the team. But, if he does not force his way on the team, he could find himself in the AHL working out the kinks instead of in the NHL working out the kinks.
Zuccarello is another player who the Rangers are going to have to tread carefully with. He will not only have to force his way on to the roster, but he will have a short leash when it comes to struggles. When 18 games rolls around, he’s either skating or a healthy scratch. Zuccarello won’t benefit from being Prucha’d, so it’s do-or-die in the first 17 games for The Hobbit.