The New York Post's Larry Brooks reports that Glen Sather will look into bringing back Mats Zuccarello at some point this season. From the article:
“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.”
Zuccarello opted to go back to Europe and is currently playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL, who are currently involved in the first round of the KHL playoffs. Zuccarello has produced 28 points in 44 games this season and scored late in the game last night to give his team the win.
Zuccarello would not return (if at all) to the Rangers until his KHL season concludes, which of course will depend on how far Metallurg goes in the playoffs, which could be as late as the end of April.
Of course it's no lock that Zuccarello will even want to come back or that agreeable terms for both sides could be found, but it's an interesting prospect. Zuccarello has said in the past that he'd be open to a return to the Rangers. However, the big question in his mind is what his role would be going into next year. It's unlikely that, as a 26 year old, he has any interest in spending more time in the AHL. But he had not proven the past two years that he deserved a permanent spot in the NHL. So Sather and Tortorella will be cautious with what they're willing to promise him.
We know Zuccarello's limitations and inability to stay consistent shift-by-shift and game-by-game. But it makes sense that the Rangers would look to add him. The Rangers sorely lack call-up options from the AHL; Thomas is not ready yet and Mashinter and Bickel just aren't good enough. If the Rangers could bring in a depth forward who can make some sort of impact even every other game then it would be an upgrade. Zuccarello is certainly capable of that. He also knows the team's system (even if he struggled with it) and would add some poise and offensive vision to a powerplay that desperately needs all the help it could possibly get.
Even the best teams look to add depth close to the trading deadline, and the Rangers certainly are going to be on the search for offensive depth. Bringing in a guy who plays with passion, is familiar with the team, and can add some offensive flair is preferable to moving a prospect or draft pick to make an addition.
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I think this can be a good move. As for lack of size, the hobbit has stepped up his physical game in Russia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qFQLnXTAmmA . 2 minute mark
Yes, well, we all remember how much Torts LOVED Zuc -wait wasn't that him sitting at the end of the bench next to Avery getting like 3 minutes of ice time a game.
He's Gomez from Norway.
Brandon i remember him saying that and thats the exact kind of attitude we need! We need some heart on this team and the hobbit can bring some of that
didnt need him last year but he was an awesome player...we definitely need him this year and i like the guy and i think he should come back! he should replace richards on the PP since richards should be a healthy scratch for about 5 games!
Listen I get it, you guys don't care for Zuccarello.......He's too short, he's Norwegian, I get it.
But you know what. they're 23rd in goals per game, tied for last on the PP but only 12th in goals against. So we can sit here and piss and moan about the lack of offense and complain that they don't score enough or let them try and better their team so they score more and trey and win not by just blocking shots and hard work along the boards.
@Herman_NYRBlog I loved Mats but he just doesn't fit into Torts system. Too small to grind and not able to be as responsible in the D-zone.
@Herman_NYRBlog could it be true? Always been a Zucc fan. I'm game to give him another chance. Quite a shot!
Zuccs! I would love to see this. RT @Herman_NYRBlog: The return of Mats Zuccarello? http://t.co/67hGnk1MyL #NYR #NHLNor
Please, anyone but Zuccarello. lol. He gave the team a huge boost on the power play last year before he was injured, so hey, why not. Nothing else is working.
Sather will "talk" to just about anybody and consider what's possible. I like Zuccarello, he played well with the limited time he was given -- both in CT and with the big club. He showed remarkable toughness for his size and he sees the ice well. He's a mature player, which we could certainly use, but I'm skeptical that they reach an agreement.
A bunch of roster moves is not the answer for this team, but bringing someone back is better than starting someone new.
Apparently sather is also considering bringing over fasth and Lindberg after their respective seasons. Feels like we are rushing these players developments to get out of this funk the team is in. Having said that I can't wait to see fasth in a blueshirt...
Well, not yet. But hopefully soon.
"We know Zuccarello's limitations and inability to stay consistent"
Really? Do you say the same for the other players on this team? Like Callahan, Stepan, Del Zotto, when Dubinsky and Anisimov were here?
@Pbaekken Dope! Spoiler alert: That was the #1 hit.
@chrisD Thumbs down.
@Beckfan5 I just want more creativity in their offense. He can bring that.
@coontzbloontz I agree, but I don't think signing Zuccarello and bringing in a defenseman are in any way connected or influencing of each other. Just because we need the the depth on defense more doesn't mean we should blow off a chance to add depth on offense.
@coontzbloontz Good call. Because their problem isn't scoring goals.
@stefaniealva He said earlier that he'd be open to a return, so we'll see. Nothing set in stone though. Fun guy to root for.
@KevinDeLury Zuccarello ..... the savior....?
At this point i'm almost wishing the entire season was locked out because this is just pure agony.
@KevinDeLury I love Zuccarello. He jump started the team in the 2010-11 season, was an AHL all star in 2011 before being called back up last year to help the PP. I say offer him the one way contract for 2013-14 so he stays on the team and see what he's capable of in a full NHL season.
@_Jack Jack, you are so pumped right now.
@slapshot13j I think Zucc would be the only one playing in the NHL though. Fasth and Lindberg would be brought over to play with the Whale, get acclimated with the system, and be the most ready they can be for training camp in the fall. Calling either one up would be a result of another bad rash of injuries. If they have some injury luck going forward, there's not even really room for Zucc, but it'd be good to have him on the Whale in case he's needed.
@Beckfan5 I have been critical of Stepan, Del Zotto, Dubinsky, and Anisimov for being inconsistent and very recently called out Callahan for letting his play drop off (though he has since regained form). Let me preface this by saying that I LOVE Mats Zuccarello and want him to succeed more than just about anybody since Prucha. But "consistent" is probably the last word I would use to describe his stints in the NHL.
@_Jack C'mon Zuc .... the savior?! We've really run out of options if this is Sather's best idea. Zuc can pay but he's not going to elevate this team to the new eastern conference powerhouse.
@_Jack You mean dumping and chasing and then standing around isn't doing it for you?
@Herman_NYRBlog he said he would only play for the NYR right? I remember something like that. Guess we will see! Thx for keeping me updated!
@BrendyJohnson @KevinDeLury One-way contracts don't promise that he stays on the team. All it means is that he would be paid his full NHL salary regardless of whether he was in the NHL or AHL. Players on two-way contracts, however, earn a lesser salary in the AHL than they do in the NHL. I think Zuccarello is more worried about being stuck in the AHL than the money.
@KevinDeLury ...and I forgot about how good he did in camp/preseason to make the team last year
@jtf1218 True, because he is the most experienced over all our AHLers and kids he's the most prepared to:
- play the "system"
- produce on the power play
- not be a liability
- be CREATIVE
Right now MZA > Kreider, Miller, Thomas
Do the Rangers need him? Who knows.
@jtf1218 o ok that makes more sense. I was saying to myself how are they going to bring these kids right to the NHL. Can't wait to see these kids next year... There is going to be a lot of competition to make the roster next year, some players are not going to make it that we wouldn't think I have a feeling...
@Herman_NYRBlog Yes, because he hasn't been in the lineup "consistently".
Thank you for not stating that one of his weaknesses is is height.
@chrisD No one here said he's a/the savior. No one said, not even Sather, it was the "best idea." No one said giving him ice time would make them the new Eastern Conference Powerhouse.
@stefaniealva @Herman_NYRBlog rangers own his NHL rights so if he opts out of khl we get 1st crack, though dont know where the cap space is
@stefaniealva he 100% said something like 'If I'm playing in the NHL, it will be with the Rangers' @herman_nyrblog
@_Jack Agree on him over Kreider and Thomas, but not Miller. They really like Miller, I can't see him coming out for Zuccarello. As it stands right now, if they get healthy, Asham is in for Mashinter and Nash for Kreider. After that, I guess Zucc could replace Boyle, or Halpern, or Powe, but it's not ideal to take away a penalty killer for a guy who might help the power play. Personally, I'd rather see Zucc as the 13th forward than taking one of those PK guys out.
@Herman_NYRBlog 40+ games while averaging 8:00-10:00 per game???
When you are not given the right opportunity (lack of minuets) with the proper tools (decent line mates) it is going to be tough to succeed at anything.
Welcome to the reality of LIFE.
@Beckfan5 These aren't the same discussions. You were arguing that Kreider/Thomas/Mashinter etc were given playing time despite the Rangers being contenders. I then explained that this was only because the Rangers' hand was forced and they had no choice. And that, once the team is healthy, they would be sent down; they were not being given a longer rope by choice.Zuccarello was indeed given his call-up because of injuries to players. The reason a prospect is given a chance in itself. Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan were both also called up due to injury. However, they proved in their windows of opportunity that they deserved a longer look, and then proved they deserved their permanent roster spots. Welcome to the reality of the NHL and sports in general. Outside of very few teams such as the Islanders and Blue Jackets, prospects are given relatively short windows to prove they should be kept at the NHL level. In Zuccarello's case, he was given half of a season plus an entire training camp plus first few games of the following season. That is more than enough time to make his mark and earn a permanent stay. I think Zuccarello deserves another shot, but I don't understand how you think 40+ games for a winger in his mid-20s is not enough time to assess his play.
@Herman_NYRBlog So wait, I don't understand what you are trying to say. When Zuccarello played all of 42 games 2 seasons ago it wasn't because of injuries (Gaborik 62 GP, Callahan 60 GP, Drury 24 GP, Prospal 29 GP, Frolov 43 GP)?
But when they insert Thomas, Kreider, Miller, Mashinter, Ferriero.....it's because of injuries?
Zuccarello's first game that season was December 23. That's 2+ months into the season. The 36th game of that season to be exact. He averaged just over a half a point per game. He had 9 PP assists in that time, more than anyone on the team for the whole season except for Gaborik who also had 9 and he averaged the least amount of time on ice with the exception of Avery and Christensen.
Last season he played the first 3 games of the season (averaging a whopping 8:00 of ice time) and then didn't play until March.Excluding those first 3 games he had 3 points in those 7 games.
So, how long was that rope?
@Beckfan5 You know that's only because of they had no choice due to the piling up of injuries. Once we're back to full strength Miller is the only one who will remain.
@Herman_NYRBlog Learning on the job? The Rangers have dressed about 4 players this season that have been learning on the job!
@Beckfan5 I was talking about last year, where he was given a shorter leash/trial period. The previous season he was given a much longer rope.Obviously all teams are hoping to win the Cup. But that's a far more realistic goal for some teams than others. A team like the Blue Jackets is not realistically expecting to compete this season and therefore is going to be more willing to put up with mistakes and inconsistencies because they don't have much to lose. Whereas a team with a good chance of contending doesn't have as much room for mistakes and learning on the job because of the importance of every game.
@Herman_NYRBlog Really? The team was trying to win a Cup? Isn't that their goal every year?
Oh, and I have news for you, the Rangers were eliminated in the 1st round that season by Washington, 4-1. So much for high hopes for winning the Cup.
And wasn't he was playing on the 4th line with Woski? That'll help with devolving a 23 year old (cough cough, Kreider, cough cough).
@stevenabsmith @Herman_NYRBlog @Beckfan5 There's more to physicality than just hitting, though that certainly is a big part of it. Nonetheless, the fact that two guys with different heights have similar hits proves my point. I'm not being heavily critical of Boyle, by the way. Callahan is just a freak of nature. But nonetheless the point still stands that height and physicality are not completely correlated.
@Herman_NYRBlog @Beckfan5 Funny, as Boyle has about the same amount of hits as Cally. Boyle is 7th in the NHL in the hit department, followed by Cally. Just saying.
@Beckfan5 No, but he played most games from January-April the season prior, was given all of training camp plus the first few games last season, and then the March stint. The guy was 24 years old and therefore not much room for growth. And the team was trying to win a cup so there wasn't much of an opportunity to screw around. Again, I was a defender of Zuccarello's play and thought he improved considerably from when he first came over to North America. But I think it's incorrect to say that he wasn't given a chance.
@Herman_NYRBlog A good chance? How so?
Was it the March call up last season that made your conclusion?
@Herman_NYRBlog @Beckfan5 I don't really see a spot on the team for him when everyone is healthy, I feel we already have to many players for the 12 available forward spots. We are about to send mash and kreider down probably, which would mean we would be back to the right amount. Having said that if we are to receive another injury I would rather him be available to us then someone that doesn't know the system.
@Beckfan5 Ryan Callahan at 5'11 plays a much more physical game than Brian Boyle at 6'7. Height in itself means nothing; it's about how you use it.I think Zuccarello was given a perfectly good chance on a few different occasions to prove his worth and earn his spot.