Irresponsible Rumormongering

The Rangers should be calling Minnesota about Jason Zucker

Minnesota is continuing its very weird string of moves, this time by offering Jason Zucker up to basically the entire league.

There seems to be no real rhyme or reason to what Minnesota wants, other than perhaps another forward? I joked that the Rangers should offer Neal Pionk and see if Minnesota accepts it, but that’s not happening. Minnesota doesn’t need defensemen. In this odd situation, they seem to be targeting forwards. But before getting into what it would take to land Zucker, let’s see who exactly Zucker is.

Zucker is a top-six forward with four years and $5.5 million left on his deal. He’s scored 20 goals the past three seasons, and is one season removed from a 33-31-64 campaign. He shot 15% that year, about 3% higher than his career average of 12%, so it’s not like he was playing beyond his talent. He shot 10% this year, so if anything this could be a prime buy-low move for the Rangers.

Zucker is a major positive impact both offensively — driving good shot quality — and defensively — limiting high danger chances — so this desire to dump him is perplexing. His xGF% was 55.92%, while his GF% was just 50%, again giving more meat to the argument that this is a prime buy-low opportunity for the Rangers. He just appeared to have an unlucky year. He was 2nd on the Wild with a 2.56 xGF/60, and did have a solid 2.02 xGA/60. He was 11th on Minnesota in xGA/60, but that team had a bunch of guys under 2.00. Suffice it to say, this is something that Jeff Gorton should be in on.

The cost is always going to be the big factor. Obviously the Rangers aren’t going to part with some of their young talent, and aside from Pavel Buchnevich, there isn’t really a one-for-one deal to be made with the teams. It would have to be some sort of package deal. The Wild are targeting skill, but that makes sense since Zucker is probably Minnesota’s best winger. There’s probably a deal to be made with some of the depth, but not top-six, talent. The trio of Namestnikov, Strome, and Vesey come to mind, perhaps Brett Howden can be dealt in this situation as a young centerpiece of the deal. I’m spit balling here, mostly because Minnesota is all over the place with their rumored asks.

Assuming the cost isn’t a huge deal, this is something the Rangers should be all over. If they are looking to accelerate their rebuild, Zucker solidifies their top-six and ensures that some of the high talent prospects don’t get rushed into a top-six role. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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  • Maybe a Plan Q type of thing, but my question is, if this guy is such a deal, then why is an offensively starved team like the Wild shopping him all the time?

    Big red flag for me, unless the Wild are just a dumb org, which is also a possibility (trading Neiddereiter is a good example of this).

    • If the Wild were willing to take on Kessel, then this is not a cap space type of trade.

      Obviously the Wild are looking to upgrade their scoring, which makes sense. Then why not just go after Skinner who is FA? Or someone like that?

      I don’t see who the Rangers would give up to get Zucker, unless it’s for Kreider, if the Rangers decide to trade CK. Trading bottom 6ers like Names and/or Vesey probably does not get it done.

    • I am still in favor of signing Panarin and Duchene. We then could package up a few players (Krieider, Vesey, Smith) for a #1 defenseman. Our top 2 forward lines would be very talented and we would still have a respectable 3rd/4th line. No buyouts. Send Staal to Hartford to teach the young players. Let the ‘D’ learn at AHL and NHL for 1 more season. Then, the following season, we will totally understand the ‘D’ much better than the current unknown on them. Maybe then a buyout or two.

  • Im not worried because Chytil is a baby…but he has been scratched since the May 21 game vs Italy…Is the Czech team a team that favors older players no matter what like Russia does?

    • He just got bumped down(and out of) the lineup as the Czechs got better players back. Was scratched in the game prior as well.

  • “Assuming the cost isn’t a huge deal …”

    Huge assumption. He’s a quality player, 27 years old who can play either wing … best thing is he has 4 years left on his contract, so it takes him to age 31. That said is this something we need to do? How does it move us forward? Again I view accelerating the rebuild as getting Lemieux, trading for Fox — in other words, obtaining players who are between the ages of 20-24 as opposed to draft picks (18 year olds). I don’t think TRADING for 27 year olds accelerates the rebuild in any meaningful way except for in the short term. Now signing a 27/28 year old UFA may not as well, but the only cost is in terms of cap space (of course I think they need to be cautious in that regard as well).

  • I’ll stick with my usual mantra: if JG can swing a deal that makes the Rangers better, then go for it. If he can’t, then pass. Personally, I don’t see a deal there, but, who am I?

    • As an evaluator of talent, I believe that JG knows what the heck he is doing. That stated, if he believes this move may improve the team now, and long term, it will be made. If not, he will move on from it. I haven’t seen enough of the Wild, and or this player to form an opinion, so I’ll leave it it the experts!!!!!!!!

  • Happy Memorial Day,
    Walt, I never heard it put the way you put it. Giving thanks to those brave men and women who put on the uniform but never took it off. So well stated.
    This morning I emailed out nine emails. Those nine emails went to the families of nine special operator Marines I served with in my two tours in that green, wet, obsessively hot s__t hole called Vietnam. Yep their families got a nice form letter from DOD accuartely describing their son’s bravery etc. I wanted the famlies to know what their son talked about while serving over there. I wanted those families to know the intimate positive things about their sons i wanted them to read something that came from someone who actually knew their son, and brother. The demographics have changed from the first set of letters I mailed out the first Memorial Day went to parents, now those parents have passed on and the letters which are now emails go to siblings of those nine special Marines.
    I don’t want to p_s on anyone’s celebration but all I am asking you all to do is take a moment today and just silently thank all of those who Walt has mentioned that never got to take off the uniform.
    Again, well done Walt.

      • First couple of comments here in a year or more. I had an email issue the other day and the guy I talked to for support was from New Jersey. I of course transitioned the convo to hockey and sure enough he’s a huge Devils fan (and hates the Rangers). He is CONVINCED that the Devils will take Kakko due to his size and other tools and his performance against men, as opposed to the under-sized Hughes.

        Personally, I am hoping for Kakko to the Rangers and not just by a little. So he creeped me out just a bit.

  • Isn’t it great that we can discuss, debate, and even argue about our team?

    Today is a day of honoring those people that gave us this right to do so. We even have the right to say stupid things and be protected under the term of “free speech.”

    Free speech is not an entitlement, but something that was earned for us over the years. As a “baby boomer” we lived to honor history, good and bad, and to learn to appreciate the end results due to personal sacrifices by many, many brave people.

    I hope that the younger people have that same appreciation and that they realize where we were and where we are today.

    Pray for our military and their families, and thank them for their service when you see them.

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