Musings

Extended thoughts on the Mats Zuccarello trade

After some quick thoughts on the Mats Zuccarello trade, we’ve had time to digest the trade on Saturday night that sent the beloved winger to Dallas. Let’s expand on those, shall we?

1. It looks like the market for Zuccarello wasn’t as high as fans had hoped, especially given his recent tear through January and February. Despite the hopes that Zucc would bring back a guaranteed first round pick and a prospect, he was dealt for 2nd (2019) and 3rd (2020) round picks, with conditions that could make both of them firsts. Those conditions (win 2 rounds, Zucc re-signs in Dallas) are unlikely to come to fruition. Jeff Gorton, same with any GM, is not going to turn down a better offer to take this deal. So let’s stop with the talk that Gorton should have gotten a guaranteed first rounder. The market wasn’t there.

2. The pundits were saying that the Rangers would likely get a 2nd round pick and a B-prospect for Zucc. That is essentially what they got, a 2nd round pick and a 3rd round pick that will become a B-prospect. Given what we know, and that top prospects are *almost* never on the table for pure rentals, then it’s a pick-one from the mid-level guys. Given what we know about Dallas’ draft history and their lack of prospect depth outside of Heiskenan, Dellandrea, Robertson, Hintz, and Guryanov, the Rangers chose to pick their own guy instead of someone else from the Dallas pipeline. I’m fine with that.

3. It seems emotions are playing a large role in the outrage over the trade. That’s fine. Zucc was one of the most beloved Rangers, possibly the most beloved in the post-lockout era, non-Lundqvist division. You want to get the moon for the heart and soul, but the reality is that his value to fans was greater than his value to other teams with his on-ice production. He’s a 31 year old winger, pure rental, who outside of a hot six weeks was pretty bad this year. However if the stars align, Dallas gets a lucky draw and some hot players at the right time, then we could see one or both of these picks become first rounders. It’s highly unlikely, but still possible.

4. Also still possible but highly unlikely is a return for Zucc in the offseason. This type of deal, specifically with a 3rd rounder becoming a 1st rounder if he re-signs in Dallas, screams pure rental with no intent to keep Zucc around after this season. Was there a wink-wink, nudge-nudge Keith Tkachuk type deal in place before Zucc was traded? Probably not. But there is still a possibility. The Blueshirts do need some type of veteran leadership in the locker room next year.

5. There was talk about why Zuccarello barely got more than Brian Boyle (2nd rounder). I think it’s a bit of an apples/oranges situation. Boyle is a center, so his value is already higher. Whereas Zuccarello is viewed –wrongly– as a one-dimensional player, Boyle is viewed as a defensive shutdown guy to round out the bottom-six. NHL GMs are weird, and I don’t make the rules. That’s just the perception. I think, though, that if the 3rd round pick were a prospect you could name, the outrage wouldn’t be there and the comparison wouldn’t matter.

6. In the end, this trade stinks on an emotional level. Trying to separate emotion from the logic, and the return seems light because Zuccarello is still a top-six winger good for 50 points. When you look at other factors (bad until January, 31 years old, winger/not-center, expiring deal), all that brings the return down. There’s a mental aspect here too, as a 3rd round pick is basically a B-prospect, but we don’t see a name attached to anything yet.

7. Last one: Remember that your trade proposal sucks. Your expectations are not reality. This goes for everyone, including me.

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  • A nice synthesis of the commentariat yesterday, at least from the people who use their heads for something other than a hat rack.

    In a perfect world, Stars get to the WCF(possible), re-sign Zucc then the D & goaltending goes pear shaped so the Rangers are looking at a high lottery pick that isn’t theirs.

    • Dear Reenavipul – Thank you so much for your cerebral assessment. It must be nice to be able to stand back and be such an expert on all things hockey. I envy you.

      While everyone is dissing Zuke as a 31 year-old has-been winger who just happened to have six good weeks before the trade deadline – I call Bull$hit.

      Clearly, Zucc did not have a very good start to the year. Perhaps it was because he was labeled a “dead man walking” on the first day of camp due to his UFA status. I am not an expert like you, but it does seems to me a player with Zucc’s makeup uses emotion to a great extent to fuel his on-ice performance.

      For a guy like Zucc who has already taken one contract for the team, one fractured skull for the team, and has professed his love and loyalty to the Ranger’s, that must’ve sucked big time. I can certainly see how that UFA thing hanging over his head could affect his play. Not sure if you missed this or not, but once he publicly let his feelings out, he turned his performance around big-time.

      Again I know you cerebral hockey experts don’t think about things like intangibles, but let’s not forget where this team is headed. Remake, revamp, reconstruct, revitalize, rebuild? In which one of those situations does a well-respected veteran who bleeds Ranger Blue and can serve as a mentor to a group of younger players on the ice, off the ice, and in the locker room, NOT fit?

      At this point next year’s leaders will be who, Vesey? Nieves? Krieder – he may be gone by the end of the day. Marc Staal – you know, the one that will bought out over the summer? Let’s get the parade route ready now.

      My concern on this deal is that it is now in the hands of Gordie (I’ll take the goalie with the 39th pick) Clarke and rest of his crack, talent-evaluation machine and that scares the $hit out of me. Given the expertise that you have – do you know if there was any cost/benefit analysis performed to see if the return was even worth the upside Zucc brings to the team? Oh sorry, I forgot. The consensus of the experts like yourself is that there was no upside.

      The opportunity to get two #1’s was a thoughtful piece of negotiating and we will see how that plays out. And I am sure Zucc, the emotional guy that he is, will surely be interested in a return to Dolan’s Broadway after being so unceremoniously shipped out.

      Yep – Hockey is business. Even us non-experts get that. But it sure is nice to be wanted.

      And if you think it is anything different for Zucc – perhaps you caught the Star’s game yesterday where Zucc played with his usual zeal and was the 1st star of the game although he only played two periods (after taking one for his new team in the way of a likely broken arm).

      So-long Zucc – Some of us are going to miss you.

      Go Stars!!!

      Sincerely,
      Hat Rack

  • For anyone that thought we got fleeced, the Nyquist deal, hello? And if I had my choice between a B prospect and a 3rd, I take the pick because the B prospect is a known asset and probably does not make the NHL. At least the pick has a chance to make the NHL.

    Zuc continues what is the life of a Ranger fan: He does great, as we knew he would, then breaks our hearts by getting seriously hurt.

    Just so, so sad. Get well soon Zuc.

    • Yes, the Nyquist deal demonstrates what the market was for guys like Zuccarello.

      What a shame he got hurt after doing so well in the game.

      • The Nyquist deal should put an end to the Zuc trade debate. Of course it won’t, but it should, lol.

        • King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!! says:

          So maybe we get 2 – 2nd round picks for Hayes if we’re lucky.

          • Hayes is 5 years younger than Zucc, 10 inches taller/35-40 lbs heavier, and plays center instead of wing. That’s why he’ll bring back more in a trade. Defensemen and centers usually bring back more assets in deadline trades due to their positional importance in the playoffs. It’s only been going on like this for about 15 seasons now, not surprising that it escaped your notice.

          • Sieve – can you limit your username to one iteration please? It adds unnecessary scrolling. I think we get your point that you’re not a Lundqvist fan. This is kind of comparable to talking in all caps all the time.

          • King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!! says:

            I love the guy!

        • I don’t completely agree. Although similar players, Zucc >>> Nyquist … I mean HELLO, how many playoffs has Nyquist been in? Intangibles. That’s a good trade for SJ — if any deadline trade can be considered good. lol

          However clearly the market is soft for wingers it appears, now I want to see the Simmonds trade haul — considering his year here it shouldn’t be more than Zucc.

    • Stars should put Zucc on LTIR, trade for Hayes on a 50% retention sending some long dated 1st rd picks.

  • First wish Zucc a speedy recovery. Sucks he got hurt in his first game. Agree with what you said here. Assuming not much changes the second is around 45 or so overall this year. Not a first, but there are plenty of nice options in that range of the mock draft. Sad to see him go and the return feels underwhelming, however the alternative of him walking as UFA is worse.

    • King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!! says:

      We can stock up on another goalie !

      • I agree – we now have two extra picks – surely there are a couple of unknown goalies hiding under a rock somewhere in Europe.

  • When the trade went down, I had an empty feeling in my gut, but I understood it needed to be done. The return is what was published, so we shouldn’t be disappointed.

    I will miss the little man, but life goes on, and maybe some day they bring him back after retirement to work for the Ranger organization!!!!!!

  • King Sieveqvist!!

    I always enjoy coming on here and reading the informed opinions of the regular and knowledgeable contributors but I keep asking myself – Why do You bother?

    • King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!! says:

      ok MC

      • The last thing I need to do is adopt alternate identities, especially when dealing with utter morons like yourself.

  • The soft return we got for Zucc might be how the market is shaping up for Hayes. Many here think he will fetch us a first rounder and a good prospect, but that might not be the case. We may be lucky to get a first rounder by itself. We also my have to eat a lot of salary just to make the deal. This team plays with a lot of heart, but is short on talent. Hoping the kids step up and the picks are worthy of top 6 NHL players.

    As for Zucc, the interview with Hank was touching. He was holding back tears regarding his good friend and teammate. Wishing Zucc all the best and a speedy recovery.

    Would not be surprised to see Names and Strome being moved at the deadline as well. Both have stepped up their game.

    • I’m not so sure on Strome. I think something might be clicking finally… IMO you can add this trade to the positive side of the ledger for Gorton. I think he can be a pretty good 3C on a playoff team, and I think we haven’t seen his best yet.

      • King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!! says:

        That was Gorton’s move of the year. Seems the more ice time you give him and put a few decent wingers on his side he excels.

      • No doubt. I just think we need to figure out if he fits into the plans for the next 2 years. If he doesn’t, then it is like turning Spooner into a 3rd round pick. I kind of like him on a 4th line with Fast. They cause a little bit of havoc.

      • “I think he can be a pretty good 3C on a playoff team, and I think we haven’t seen his best yet.”

        Good assessment Emile – Any ideas as to when we might see a playoff team around here?

  • draft picks?!
    So, he’ll be missed. and these picks will never fill the hole.
    a 2nd and 3rd round picks. Oh, it’ll only be 4-5 years before they’re ready for the NHL. If they’re good enough for the NHL in 4-5 years that is.
    Just keep getting 2020 picks as this 2019 draft is shallow and weak.

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