Is Zuccarello worthy of a roster spot?

October 23, 2013, by
Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

For a team that is looking to contend and for a team with a boatload of injuries and players struggling to find form, waiting for a player to find his groove isn’t a particularly appealing option. As such, Mats Zuccarello has found himself on the slippery slope to the fourth line. Somewhere where small, skilled, defensively challenged players go to die.

So far, Zuccarello has been terrible for a team that has been terrible. For a team absent of arguably their best three wingers, the fact Zuccarello has fallen so far so quickly and contributed nothing in the interim is troublesome. He has received the ice time (over 16 minutes per game), he has had opportunities – if you can call one shot per game sufficient opportunity – but has failed to produce whichever way you look at it.

He’s not the only one struggling, but he’s one that was expected to build upon his successes last year.

At this stage Zuccarello may be being saved from the press box (or worse) because of Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin’s combined absences, and management’s likely reluctance to go with even less experience as the Rangers look to get out of the 2-5 hole they find themselves in. It’s fair to say that Zuccarello’s Rangers career could be in jeopardy right now.

Of course, Zuccarello was never expected to be a saviour, but he was expected to be a contributor. Right now is a great time to show the Rangers that he can be leaned on to produce when they need it most. If the little Norwegian’s  unproductive period becomes much longer consideration will be given to other, more in form players.

We have already seen Chris Kreider return to the Rangers and he is immediately (appropriately) practising on a scoring line. Guys such as Danny Kristo are playing well in Hartford. It won’t be long before their merits are considered, maybe at the expensive of Mats Zuccarello. With a banged up, under performing squad, its results and not individual career paths that matter.


  1. cv19 says:

    I’ve never considered Z a reliable NHLer. Disappears for long stretches. Didn’t understand the Ranger’s signing of him this summer. He has little chance of lasting the season. Where does his strength lie other than the shootout? Ciao Zucs.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      The reason was he was cheap and provided nice depth, especially after how he played last season when he returned to the Rangers.

    • branted says:

      another bad read by bullhead Sather.

  2. Bayman says:

    Z can be exciting to watch, but results have been very limited during his time on Broadway.

  3. Chris says:

    He’s teased us with his skill and potential but has never been a consistent NHL player.

    Eventually, the Rangers will lose patience and with limited production and being a stereotyped player (small winger) he’ll struggle to stay in the league.

    Needs to produce very quickly.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Sure just like P.A. has struggled and is out of the league.

      • Bob says:

        Sather has more Lisins, Wolskis, Frolovs, Nedved, Dawes type signings who were flashes in the pan that eventually went east than guys like PA.

    • Centerman21 says:

      I don’t blame him and only him. His linemmates haven’t made plays either. It’s up to him to score but the entire team has struggled to score. Pouliot has zero goals as well.

  4. Mikeyyy says:

    Lack of finishing talent and an abundance of playmakers is a bad recipe.

    At this point only brad Richards is deserving of a roster spot.

    I’ve watched the games zucc was getting his line opps, but no one on this team can finish right now.

  5. Erixon20 says:

    Zucc is being asked to do more than he can do for this Ranger team. He battles hard, but he can’t do what’s asked of him, which is create offense. For the Rangers, when they are fully healthy, Zucc would be a nice call up from Hartford when a guy with offensive skills is needed. When NYR get healthy, he and Pyatt go down I say.

  6. Dave says:

    Tough to single out one guy, but for someone who was such a driver of puck possession last season, I expected more.

  7. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Yikes. Just read the Pat Leonard chat at the NYDailynews Ranger Blog (http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/rangers/). Not pretty.

    From the sound of it Pat thinks this team is DOOMED.

    Pessimism reigns.

    • VinceR says:

      I followed that chat…while Pat did mention some worst case scenarios(to answer questions), he also said it was pure speculation on his behalf and only should the worst happen, and that it was too soon to really think that it would.

      Although it does sound that he thinks the Nash injury is really bad and that’s why they are covering up.

      One of his worst case scenarios was that if Nash was a reaaaaaaal bad concussion (didn’t say that he thought it was this bad) was trading Richards as a rental at the end of the season to a contender with a buyout left, and then using the NYR buyout on Nash. Oof, could you imagine?

      Again, he was just spit-balling from a “what if” question from a reader. But I thought I’d mention it here for those who seem to like to line up on the bridge railing early.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        He wasn’t optimistic at all about the total talent level, griped about the Gaborik trade, agreed with a chatter regarding Sather not putting a team on the ice that matches the expectations, and lamented the lack of depth.

        Yeah, he’s not a believer.

        Honestly, a very depressing chat.

        I have hope, it appears not many do.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      Doomed isn’t the word. Trade br and buyout nash? That’s bad.

      Nash is bad off and even with cally and hags without nash that’s probably a season ender

    • branted says:

      he also said something about Sather trying to trade Kreider and AV pushing for some trades…….ugh its scary to think Sather will be looking to trade the youth.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        He mentioned that it was reported once in the Ottawa sun that Sather was looking to move Kreider. For the record, he said he couldn’t confirm that rumor.

  8. Chris says:

    I write about Zuke’s ‘worthiness’ of a roster spot and all of a sudden he’s getting scratched! OOOOF! haha

    • Walt says:

      If Zucc is scratched for the game thursday, it’s because we play Filthadelphia.

      That’s not to say he deserves to play, but we are in Philly, and playing those dirty SOB’s, we need bulk, probably Mash plays!!

  9. Ray says:

    Cmon. Zuccarello has played roughly one quarter of the total Ranger icetime and I believe he has been on the ice for a whopping three of the 29 goals against so far. He isn’t why the Rangers have been dreadful.

    He’s not scoring yet. Remember he was on the ice for every PP goal in the playoffs and a better offensive player in the postseason than Saint Nash, who isn’t even + this year despite a ton of OZ starts.

    And the Ranger problem is not that they have a surfeit of forwards blocking the talented kids from playing. They don’t have 12 forwards who belong on the ice now.

  10. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Answer YES.

  11. supermaz says:

    Can anyone say scapegoat. I can’t believe this is even being discussed. Boyle and Pyatt get free passes for years while producing zero offense and poor Zucc gets 7 games. Bullshit ! Just let the man play.

  12. Bloomer says:

    Have to agree with the group here, Zukie hasn’t lit the world on fire but he hasn’t been the worse Ranger. I got this feeling he’s trade bait as he has some upside and comes with a salary that’s easy on the cap.

  13. agentsmith says:

    good to see that ppl are finally seeing what ive been saying all along:

    zuc is not a regular nhl player. let alone a top 6 player.

    he cant finish for his life.

    Tort had to oversell him to us because lets be honest thats all the cards he had to play.

    if we tried trading him no team would give a 6th rounder for him.

    but “oh no hell flourish under AV” said the fangirls.

    finally scratched. hopefully demoted forever.

  14. TxRanger says:

    remember when people thought this dude was gonna be a big timer?

    • Steff says:

      What I saw of him, I still think he can produce.
      And if the Phoenix goalie has more goals than most on the team, it’s easy to scapegoat it on one person, because he is small. Which (scapegoating) is what I see in some of the comments…

      As long as we don’t exactly know that and why he is scratched, it is hard to draw conclusions..

      And I’m still curious what happens if he plays with a natural finisher.