Vigneault the perfect coach for Zuccarello?

June 26, 2013, by
Zuccarello scores pretty goals, will AV get more out of him?

Zuccarello scores pretty goals, will AV get more out of him?

As Glen Sather talked about needing a changing in coaching styles and Alain Vigneault talked about giving his skill players ‘more latitude’, you could get a sense that next season has the potential to be a coming out party for a little Norwegian winger that never seemed to match up with John Tortorella. Could Alain Vigneault’s arrival be a blessing in disguise for Mats Zuccarello?

Known for maximising zone starts for his skill guys, a more puck possession style, and having run teams that have had actual powerplay success, it seems that Mats Zuccarello could be placed in the best situation to succeed with the Rangers that he has ever had. During his time on Broadway, Zuccarello has routinely been the Rangers’ most creative powerplay operator, he’s clearly better with the puck than without, and was never ideal for the grinding, throw the puck deep and chase after it style that was the hallmark of the Tortorella years.

While all the talk may center on what Vigneault can do with Rick Nash, what happens with Brad Richards, and how he’ll be able to get the most out of Chris Kreider the impact the new coaching regime could have on Mats Zuccarello could be huge. The talent has always been there.

With 34 points in 67 games as a Ranger, Zuccarello has flashed NHL ability, particularly through his vision and passing ability. However he has never truly had an opportunity – at least a prolonged one – in a full scoring role. With the injuries to Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, at least in the short term (assuming he’s re-signed of course), Zuccarello promises to get a long look in camp and during the preseason to fill that role. He has always had the ability to make an impact, know he may be in the right situation to make an impact.

While there is still the offseason to negotiate, the Rangers would be well advised to try and get the best out of the Norwegian winger. He should be cheaper than any free agent of similar talent and knows the franchise well. The fit is already there.

Zuccarello has shown he can step up when needed, and with the aforementioned potential absences in the top six, Zuccarello being trialled in a more prominent role simply makes sense at this point. With the Rangers turning to Alain Vigneault because he’s seen as a tonic for the Rangers recent ails maybe the same will eventually be said of Zuccarello, thanks to Alain Vigneault’s arrival.


  1. Mikeyyy says:

    Spot on. The talent is there its ip to the coach to milk that cat.

  2. Rangergrl says:

    Zucc is a great positive force on the team and he should do well during the regular season under AV. But unless Vigneault has a magic wand that makes the Hobbit grow six inches come playoff time, I can’t see the new coach having much more success than the old one did in coaxing more offense from him. Big, mean players and refs that swallow whistles make it very difficult for guys like Zucc to succeed when it counts.

    • RyanK says:

      You may have heard of this other short guy that’s over a PPG in the playoffs, Martin St. Louis?

      Don’t think I’m saying Zucc is anywhere near St. Louis’ skill level, but St. Louis is a much softer player than Zucc. I think the hobbit will do just fine during the season and in the playoffs under AV.

      • Gary says:

        Not only that, but wasn’t the hobbit 3rd or 4th in scoring in this year’s PO’s?

        • Gary says:

          Check that, he was 2nd! 16:22 of ice and 3 assists on the PP. He was a fine PO performer this year despite playing in a system that was not constructed for him.

  3. Steven Cifuentes says:

    I keep hearing Zucc can’t play in the playoffs. He plays with that nasty streak he can survive in the playoffs. Brad Marchand is not big and he does just fine.

    You can be small and play big. Zucc had 7 points in 12 games this year. A small sample size but if he learns to play big he will be just fine.

  4. Brendan says:

    All good points, and he may be better with the puck than without, but Zucc is also a very effective body checker especially considering his size

  5. supermaz says:

    Remember marc savard ?
    How tall was he?
    Dave Gagner ?
    Shut up with the height crap .

  6. Mikeyyy says:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if we went all the way next year with our current lineup.

    • Mundo says:

      And play the Canucks in the finals?

    • Ren says:

      Wouldn’t it be funny if we won the president’s trophy and lost in the 1st round, and Vancouver squeaks in at 7th seed and makes it to the finals?

  7. Joe says:

    Wouldn’t be even funnier if Larry Brooks took a job with the Vancouver Sun?

  8. AD says:

    Tortorella did a fine job developing MZA; he wasn’t NHL ready and ultimately was able to meet the standards of a coach that knows what is needed to succeed in the NHL.

    We are now in the stage of “AV excitement” and what it may mean for the club and certain players. The transition to a new style will take time; more personnel turnover is needed to fit a new style and, at the end of the day, it remains to be seen if the team will have more success under AV than Tortorella.

    I, for one, think the standard has been set high, as it should be. The Canucks had significantly more talent than this team does, or likely will in the next 2-3 seasons; call me a doubting Thomas.

    • Centerman21 says:

      No doubt bud. That’s a very good point I made or tried to a while back. Tho you may have articulated that point better than I did. The system is changing along with a new coach so the team will likely change in certain spots. I doubt AV will want to get rid of anyone on the team but, may have a list of holes the team needs to fill and another list of expendable players on the roster. Boyle will be better in a puck possession game trapping in the neutral zone rather than hard charging puck persuit Torts system. However, my guess is he is an odd man out this summer. Asham is no more than a depth player on this team. He makes beans for pay but I think Dorsett is the better option at only 26 years old. Asham will be 36 next season but I see him moved before the summer is over. Maybe a throw in to a larger trade. The potential for change exists. Moore is a well rounded young player and does everything better than DZ. He will be the offensive defenseman for the Rangers and I believe DZ is moved along with one of those other 2 in a trade to get back into the 1st round of the entry draft. I think Sather make a wild move to get a 1st back.

  9. Bloomer says:

    If you love hockey you got to love the way the Hobbit plays. His shootout skills alone makes the team better. He’s not going to be your shutdown center or the guy you put over the boards to defend the lead late in the game. But his skill level makes him very entertaining to watch and used the right way he can be an effective player for the Rangers squad.