Mats Zuccarello has quickly become a fan favorite at Madison Square over the past three seasons. The five foot seven winger is quite the feisty “little guy” and definitely makes his presence known whenever he is on the ice. Despite being one of the smallest players out there, he packs a big punch. He will stand up for any teammate and go after even the biggest guys in the NHL. When Zuccarello is playing his game, he brings life to the lineup and energy to the team and the garden faithful.
Despite his contract ending at the conclusion of the 2015, Glen Sather would be wise to work out a deal wit the Norwegian national.Zuccarello would like a long term deal, after signing a one-year contract during the offseason after the 2014 run to the Stanley Cup, yet no talks or negotiations have been initiated.
This season, in forty four games, Zuccarello has seven goals and twenty three points. It has been an off year for him, and he has by far struggled offensively. His line last year of Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot was by far the best one for the Rangers.
This year, he has been playing with Derick Brassard and Rick Nash, and been out on the ice against the team’s top offensive lines.
Even though his offensive game has declined this year, his game in his own defensive zone has certainly improved. Head Coach Alain Vigeanult has put his trust back into him and has Zuccarello out on the penalty kill again, which was a permanent spot for him last year. He’s been on the second power play unit this season, which overall for the team, has struggled.
Unfortunately, Glen Sather may need to move him before the trade deadline if cap space is needed, especially since Marc Staal just signed is big extension to stay on Broadway. If he needs to be traded, it would not be the first time Glen Sather would trade away a fan favorite because a deal could not be made, just ask former captain Ryan Callahan.
The Rangers are in desperate need for a skilled center, and have been very quiet on the trade front as of late. Hopefully, it does not end with the Norwegian Beast being moved.
He still has time to show why he deserves to stay in New York, and with a little bit more confidence his game can sky rocket. At twenty seven years old, Mats Zuccarello is the all time leading scorer for Norwegian players, passing Espen Knutsen.
Getting an affordable deal done with Zuccarello will only benefit the Rangers. They are a better team when he is playing with confidence and putting points up. He will need to start playing like the Zuccarello we have come to know and love, who lead the Blueshirts in points last year with fifty nine, in order to be a long term player on Broadway.