Posts tagged: Mats Zuccarello

Musings; Rangers need to deal with Hurricanes

Rick Nash needs to be better tonight.

Rick Nash needs to be better tonight.

Well, it’s another ‘biggest game of the season’. The Rangers need to win today in my humble opinion because the Devils would like nothing more than to play the role of spoiler on the weekend, so the Rangers don’t want to go into that game having to win. Anyway, on to the musings

I absolutely loved Kevin’s article about Chris Kreider the other day.  It’s the wart on the face of the Rangers this year, for sure. I think Kreider absolutely has the ability to turn it around but at the same time I don’t think he’s untouchable any more – there’s just too much disappointment and doubt around his long term future. If the Rangers could add a major piece in a trade and Kreider had to be included I think they’d consider it now, whereas as recently as pre-season he was untouchable.

John Moore I: I’ve liked him as a prospect, was pleased he was grabbed from Columbus and he’s justified my excitement since being a Ranger. There’s so much to like about his game. While it’s early I think a full training camp and a lot of teaching and he could play up to his draft status. Columbus will regret this one.

Moore II: I think Moore’s play will also have had a huge influence on the Rangers draft day thinking. I think they may have looked to a defenseman first (and still might) but his play may allow the Rangers to go for a skilled forward or a physically imposing player instead of a blueliner.

Just a thought: If the Rangers win out to get in, has Brian Boyle played his last game as a Ranger?

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Mats Zuccarello has proven he belongs in the NHL, but does his future lie in New York?

Proved us wrong.

Proved us wrong.

Mats Zuccarello has yet to net his first goal of the season, but the diminutive Norwegian has already left his mark in six games since returning to the Blueshirts.

Zuccarello has averaged a healthy 16:49 and has earned high praise from coach John Tortorella for his conditioning, quickness and creativity.  Zuccarello has had an immediate impact on the power play, where the Rangers are five-of-15 since his arrival.  Zuccarello has just one assist on the man advantage, but he’s been very effective in gaining entry into the offensive zone and setting up the attack. Read more »

The Rangers may have a log jam of forwards this summer

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

Up front, the Rangers will have a lot of moving parts this summer beyond their top six. With Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan certainties to be retained (a question of how much rather than if) and the club focused on developing the young players such as Chris Kreider and JT Miller, there’s not a lot of space on the roster. With the club committed, at least financially, to Derick BrassardDerek Dorsett, Brian Boyle, Arron Asham, and Taylor Pyatt there’s maybe no space for the likes of Mats Zuccarello, no matter how he plays this year out.

The natural assumption is that the Rangers will trade guys to make room for others. But the problem with this assumption is that the cap is coming down to $64.3 million, and assuming the Rangers can move a now expendable guy such as Taylor Pyatt (and his $1.55 million cap hit) is a dangerous assumption. There’s also no guarantees the club can move a Boyle or a Pyatt should they choose to. Now, do the math. That’s ten players listed without considering Ryane Clowe, Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards and Darroll Powe. That’s also not considering any players from the Whale, CHL, Europe, NCAA, or free agency. Log Jam folks.

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Gaborik’s future may hinge on the prospects

Could Zuccarello's arrival mean the end for Gaborik?

Could Zuccarello’s arrival mean the end for Gaborik?

There’s a strong chance that after such an impressive performance against the Flyers (no matter how unimpressive the Flyers have been this year) that John Tortorella will stick with the line-up that pulled out the victory, and certainly the 5-2 win perhaps affords the coaching staff time with re-acquainting themselves with Mats Zuccarello. That said, when Zuccarello does eventually re-enter the line-up – and he will, why else bring him back? – his play will have a significant impact on the future of Marian Gaborik.

The Rangers have a young roster and enough moving parts that cap space isn’t a huge concern at the moment, even if it does need monitoring for next year. However, moving Gaborik or buying out Richards gives the Rangers much more maneuverability going forward. Therefore, a successful return by Zuccarello and/or an immediate impact by the also incoming Jesper Fast make Gaborik a luxury.

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Strang: Fast, Zuccarello traveling to North America tomorrow

Per Katie Strang, the plan is to have both Jesper Fast and Mats Zuccarello travel to North America tomorrow. Both are coming off seasons in Sweden and Russia, respectively, so both are in game shape. It is unknown what the organization plans to do with them at the moment. They could both be sent to Connecticut of the AHL for a game or two, or could be inserted right into the lineup with the Rangers. The Rangers play Thursday, but that might be pushing it. If they are to play with the Rangers, Saturday against Montreal might be the earliest.

The popular scenario is that Zuccarello will be with the Rangers immediately –he has prior experience with most of the team and the coaching staff– and Fast will be sent to the AHL to adjust to the North American game. Scouts think Fast is ready, but there’s no need to rush him.

Also per Strang, Zuccarello’s contract is $700k, pro-rated for this year only. Fast’s entry-level deal, signed last June, is $900k for three years.

With Zuccarello in, who will sit among Boyle, Pyatt, and Powe?

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

In case you missed it, the Rangers re-signed Mats Zuccarello, who will likely join the club within the week. Zuccarello will bring some stability and scoring to the bottom-six, something that is desperately needed. The addition of Zuccarello will lead to some lineup changes. When all the pieces fall into place, the odd-man out is not who you might think it is.

It’s been very clear that the organization wants offensive talent to play alongside J.T. Miller on the third line, so it’s a logical assumption that these two will see some ice time together. Since Zuccarello is rather flexible and can play either wing, that opens up a few options for the Rangers. If Torts wants to try Miller at center, then the Rangers can try either Marian Gaborik (RW) or Chris Kreider (LW). Each line will have a lot of skill and speed, but the downside is that the trio will be defensively inept. The rest of the top-six remains the same.

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Rangers re-sign Mats Zuccarello

Per several reports, the Rangers have re-signed forward Mats Zuccarello to a one-year contract through the end of the season. Zuccarello will be given a one-way deal, and the organization will reevaluate Zuccarello at the end of the season. The Hobbit adds much-needed scoring depth to the bottom-six, and will hopefully jump-start the third line, which is in desperate need of scoring.

As noted previously, Zuccarello will not need to pass through waivers, as the Rangers submitted a qualifying offer last offseason.

Brooks: Slats to look at bringing in Zuccarello, Fast(h), Lindberg

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Larry Brooks spoke with Glen Sather yesterday prior to the Rangers 4-3 loss to Winnipeg, and the Rangers GM said that he is looking into re-signing Mats Zuccarello once his KHL season ends:

“I’m definitely interested in talking to Zuke,” Sather said before the Rangers’ 4-3 loss to the Jets last night. “I’ve always liked him as a player. We’ll see what happens.”

It’s worth noting that the Rangers own Zuccarello’s NHL rights, as they tendered a qualifying offer to him way back in June. That offer came after Zuccarello send goodbye to the Rangers in favor of the KHL. It’s also worth noting that Zuccarello’s KHL deal has an NHL out-clasue should the miniature Norwegian decide to return to the Rangers.

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Rangers send out qualifying offers

The RFA paperwork has been submitted. And after the smoke cleared, the Rangers made qualifying offers to Anton Stralman, Michael Del Zotto, and Mats Zuccarello. Stralman, MDZ, and Zuccarello were the only three RFAs at the NHL level.

NHL qualifying offer rules dictate that players earning under $660,000 in base salary be qualified at a 10% increase in base salary, players earning between $660,000 and $1 million (where all three Rangers RFAs fall) in base salary be qualified at a 5% increase, and players earning greater than $1 million be qualified at their original salary.

With that said, the final qualifying offers for the RFAs stands at the following (assuming my math is correct):

  • Stralman – $945,000
  • Del Zotto – $918,750 $826,875
  • Zuccarello – $945,000 $850,500

By qualifying these players, the Rangers guarantee themselves draft pick compensation if one signs an offer sheet with another club.

In regards to Zuccarello, yes he signed a deal with the KHL. But the deal has an out clause for the NHL should he receive what he wants. None of the remaining RFAs in the Rangers organization (all with Connecticut) were qualified.

Zuccarello bids the Rangers adieu

Following up on the story last week that Mats Zuccarello is indeed headed for the KHL, the diminutive winger tweeted today that he is indeed done with the organization:

Nyr fans!! its been amazing playing in front of u guys! Thanks! . Im gonna miss u! Ur the best! Thanks rangers 4 2 good years. #Rangers

This is the end of what had to be a rough road for Zuccarello, who was never really able to crack the Rangers roster full time. In 52 total games with the organization, Zuccarello finished with a line of 8-18-26, good for a pace of 41 points per year. Some of his goals are memorable, such as his overtime winner against Carolina, but in the end he was a fringe player for this organization.

The topic of Zuccarello is a hot one for Ranger fans, as many believed he could provide some much needed scoring to the lineup. The problem was that he is the type of player that needs top six minutes to produce effectively, and he was not going to get that within the organization. He was not a fit for the bottom six, as his defensive zone work needed a lot of help. He was just a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.