Rangers would be wise to give Zuccarello another deal

July 10, 2013, by
The Rangers won't find a better alternative than Zuccarello

The Rangers won’t find a better alternative than Zuccarello

Mats Zuccarello has proven he has NHL ability, even if he hasn’t proven he can score consistently over an 82 game season. However at this stage, whoever the Rangers employ for a scoring role among the top nine wing positions, they will be taking a calculated risk, especially when you look at the alternatives – viable or not – that are still available in free agency.

With a ten percent cushion on the cap over the summer, the Rangers shouldn’t be worrying about squeezing Zuccarello in. Given the likely amount he’ll command, he is worth the commitment, and the Rangers will surely be able to move a half million or so if needed. When looking at alternatives, it is pretty shocking what some players are rumoured to be commanding.

The Detroit Red Wings decided to go down the Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss route rather than keep Damien Brunner on board. A large part of that decision by Wings’ brass will have been about value for money, as Brunner is rumoured to be commanding over $3.5m despite just one abbreviated, yet promising season under his belt. Clearly, the going rate in the NHL is shooting up if you command $3.5m for a 12-goal rookie campaign. It’s this reason why the Rangers need to keep Zuccarello.

Zuccarello will likely cost no more than $2m, if only because he’s yet to do it over a full NHL season. While Zuccarello and Brunner are different player types (and arguably have different ceilings), Brunner’s demands suggest the Rangers will be hard pressed to get a player of Zuccarello’s ability (and organisational fit) at the same price.

Rumours have started that with Ryan McDonagh and Carl Hagelin signed, and the assumed Derek Stepan asking price, the Rangers may struggle to give Zuccarello enough dollars. With McDonagh eating up almost $5m in cap and Stepan likely to be not far behind him once signed, Glen Sather needs to get value for money wherever he can. For an additional scoring forward, staying within the organisation and sticking with Zuccarello is the most likely route to successfully filling out the roster. Sometimes it’s about value for money.

Categories : Forwards


  1. Evan M says:

    I would love to see Zucc back. Hopefully we can make it happen after Step is signed

  2. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Agreed. Would look pretty silly if the Moore and Pouliot signings prevented the Rangers from re-upping with Zucc.

    • Dave says:

      Not necessarily. Moore is going to be a 4th line shutdown forward. Pouliot, it’s been speculated, might force Zuc out. Pouliot and Zuc are relatively interchangeable.

    • Evan M says:

      I really hope signing Pouliot didn’t push Zucc out. Zucc is a favorite of mine… they have to take that into consideration.

  3. WilliamW says:

    My guess is he’ll sign later today as the arbitration window is coming up for somewhere between 1.25 and 1.75 for 1 year

    Hagelin / Callahan / Staal potentially being on LTIR will give some flexibility

  4. Centerman21 says:

    I want to hear Stepan signed today too. He’s the 2nd in line behind Mac as far as importance to team. He’s a young star in the making. His +/- was 3rd in the NHL among top line Centerman in the league. He is the most important Offensive player on the team right now (behind Nash of course) and has to be resigned as soon as possible.

    I wanna ask if Asham and Powe cap hit come down to 100K and 75K respectively now that they’ve cleared waivers. Anyone know? because both Cap Hits are on the NYR books right now in full

    • Dave says:

      Anyone on a one-way NHL contract counts against the cap during the summer. They were waived to see if there were takers.

      Good job on the math though, most people forget about the Redden rule.

  5. flswarty says:

    I watched Pouliot extensively in Tampa and while he has some offense and is a bit stronger than Zuc, if it came down to one or the other, then Zuc is the man. He looked much more comfortable last year and provided a spark on many occasions. Also loved how he brought his edge up a notch…Would really like to see what Zuc can do for AV in the offense.

  6. Johnny Red says:

    I like Zuc also but Pouiliot is way better then him he’s big, hits, fights and scores goals! I would give him no more then 1.1m why would you give him more then Pouiliot when he can’t do half of what he does! Besides it’s time for the young guys to start breaking into the lineup.

    • Evan M says:

      Zucc isn’t exactly old, and it would be nice if he had a full season to show what he can do. He obviously has good vision and great hands. He showed that he has a little more than that during his stint this season.

      Nevermind the second goal, but the first 15″ are awesome. Hit by Zucc and a sick backhand goal. I want to see him on the ice this year in NY.

  7. Spozo says:

    Anyone else this Boston overpaid Rask? How does this affect Hanks upcoming extension?

    • Evan M says:

      Hank is going to get more than $7mil/season, but these two aren’t comparable given their situation. Different points in their careers, track record and all.

  8. bill_goldthorpe says:

    If Stepan takes the Giroux style 2nd year contract, the Rangers won’t have trouble signing Zuke (assuming asham & powe are waived to Hartford and keeping the pro rated portion on the nhl cap).