After the Tyler Ennis deal, how much can Mats Zuccarello expect?July 17, 2014, by
Mats Zuccarello and his agent will have enjoyed the news out of Buffalo when the Sabres announced the new deal for Tyler Ennis this week. Ennis grabbed 43 points (21 goals) for an awful Sabres side who scored a meagre 150 goals all year. Ennis somehow managed to be a minus 25 but on such a bad side, it can be expected to some degree. While Ennis is (at least on paper) a more established NHL’er than Zuccarello, there are similarities.
Both players are on the smaller side, speedy forwards that are creative with the puck. Neither player would be considered a shoot first player but both have an underrated shot. Ennis’ star has been a slow burner but he’s certainly trending in the right direction – much like Zuccarello. Prior to last year, during his last full 82 game season (2010-11) Ennis grabbed 49 points and 20 goals and he’s averaged better than a point every other game in the two years in between.
Up until now, Zuccarello cannot match the career totals Ennis has put up although the season just completed was a particularly strong one for Zuccarello and far exceeds anything Ennis has done individually. With an already solid playoff CV to fall back on Zuccarello could realistically demand Ennis type money despite having different negotiating rights. With free agency looming for the Norwegian he should cash in.
Is Tyler Ennis worth 5 years and 23m? No. Is he worth it to the Sabres? That’s a different story. A player’s value to his club has a great part to play in any deal and this is why the Rangers will need to pay Zuccarello. He’s begun to establish himself in a major hockey market and can the Rangers really afford not to commit to such a creative player and important part of their roster?
Without Zuccarello the Rangers would lose a major chunk of skill and vision from their line-up and with Brad Richards gone and Marty St Louis approaching 40, the team cannot take any chances with the popular Norwegian. Zuccarello might not get five years or more than 20m dollars but don’t expect him to be signed on the cheap. Deals around the league are showing the way for the Rangers. Zuccarello will need plenty of dollars to be retained long term.