Zuccarello’s injury doesn’t mean the end

March 26, 2012, by

Despite an unclear timetable for his return we know Mats Zuccarello’s wrist break has ruled him out of the regular season and probably most of the first round of the playoffs. Depending on the severity he could miss more. That doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of him in Ranger blue however.

The little Norwegian could be the beneficiary of ineptitude. Of the Rangers powerplay that is. If there is one specific concern this season it is that the Rangers powerplay cannot (consistently) take advantage of the hard work the team is putting in.

The Rangers have thrown away a few points this season because they couldn’t cash in with the extra man. In his limited return to the club, Zuccarello may not have been the all-in-one remedy but he certainly helped the unit look more dangerous and move the puck more efficiently.

Tortorella isn’t renowned for carrying a powerplay specialist on his rosters but then again, how often has he been responsible for the 29th ranked powerplay? Not often. Maybe it’s time Tortorella looked for a different solution. Zuccarello had finally begun to prove he can be more than a special teams guy with an improved level of play along the boards, impressing on the forecheck all the while still bringing his play making skills to the party.

It doesn’t matter that Chris Kreider is the projected knight in shining armour next season. Even anticipating a tremendous rookie year it would be unfair to expect a kid with no pro experience to turn around the PP unit. That’s another reason why bringing Zuccarello back makes sense, even at his qualifying offer of 945k. It lessens the burden on the likes of Kreider, it adds depth to the roster and skill to the line up and there will be money to spend given the likes of Fedotenko are possibly headed for the door.

It seems like we’ve repeated the Zuccarello situation here a few times and we have. However it’s different this time. Zuccarello is on the outside looking in thanks to injury but even with a small sample size has shown he can be a contributor. He’s improved his game and a combination of his play and the Rangers lack of a solution on the PP should lead to a reunion.

If it’s truly about improving the overall quality of the club and giving it the best chance to succeed Zuccarello should be offered a chance to return. Imagine how many points this Rangers club would have this year if the powerplay was ‘only’ a middle of the pack club? We wouldn’t be sweating on first overall that’s for sure.


  1. Mikeyyy says:

    Is it the same wrist he broke last year?

  2. Blueshirt in Paris says:

    I think it all comes down to whether he is offered a 1 way deal or a 2 way deal.

    Brooks got it a bit wrong the other day. If Zuc had played 180+ games in total or 60+ in one season the offer MUST be a one way. If not, it MAY be a two way deal.

    If Im Zuc, im going back to the SEL if I am only offered a 2 way deal.

    • Chris says:

      I think they’ll offer him a one yr deal. We’ll find out whether he wants to be a ranger because it will be significantly less than his current deal. If he wants a one way deal in NY he won’t get close to 1.75m

    • JB says:

      Agree, I dont think he’ll sign another 2 way contract. If he is to leave the nhl, he’ll probably go to khl – were he’ll be offered around $900k…

  3. Walt says:

    This kid should be offered a contract at the same rate he is at currently. He could then fight for a position, and prove himself. If it doesn’t work out, and or he doesn’t make the team, then we trade him for something in return. I hate to just let him go for nothing!!!!

  4. Agentsmith says:

    this situation is a blessing in disquise for the rangers. lets be honest this zuc experiment has been a failure. so its time to move on.

    i dont think chris will have as much pressure as evryone is saying. he isnt being asked to be our 1st 2nd third or even 4th player. that argument is so overrated.