Though nothing is official, all signals point towards the Rangers extending forward Mats Zuccarello, his agent, Erik Ryman, told Norwegian news source VG Nett.
The two sides have not gone into the very specifics of a contract, but the Rangers have told Zuccarello's camp that they want to extend him. Ryman states that other NHL teams or the KHL are still options for Zuccarello, but that his clear and foremost priority is to stay with the Rangers. By reading between the lines, we can infer that only a dramatic lowball offer from Sather and Gorton will prevent Zuccarello from returning.
If an extension is in fact agreed upon then it's well deserved for Zuccarello. The Rangers brought him back for a third chance and he has thrived in the opportunity. He had three goals and five assists in 15 regular season games, which are solid numbers but don't even do him justice. He added some sorely needed offense to the left wing and bottom lines and has since worked his way up to second line minutes. In six playoff games against the Capitals he has perhaps played his best hockey, tallying four assists.
His play away from the puck has dramatically improved and is probably what has earned him John Tortorella's trust. Last season he tallied eight hits in 10 regular season games. This season he has showed a willingness to forecheck and throw his body around, with 27 hits in 15 regular season games. He has also blocked 15 shots, compared to just three last season.
Zuccarello's signing midway through the season was met with all sorts of skepticism and cynicism, but he has quieted most of that with his play. He's doing things away from the puck for the first time in his career, and he is confident on the puck, making the plays we all knew he was capable of on a more consistent basis.
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I think it was last year it was said that zuc couldn't play against the briuns bcause of his size. I think that after the Washington series he showed he can more than hold his own against a bigger opponent.
A month ago I was pessimistic about the Rangers future. But the three Blue Jackets, Zuke and even Kreider, who is starting to get physical, have me more optimistic than ever. With Lindberg, Fast, and Miller on deck and the strong likelihood, imo, that the Rangers will trade some of their assets for a hard shooting, pp savvy backliner makes this season a win regardless of what happens tonight, Richards is a likely buyout and Lindberg should make an excellent replacement. He was the MVP of the SEL playoffs and a finalist for the league MVP...no small thing when you consider Silfverberg and Zuke were MVPs of that highly regarded league. He's a playmaking, goal scoring center and his presence should make the Rangers solid at Center for years.LGR!
Well deserved - he's earned his TOI and has been one of the most effective and consistent players on the ice and is doing the little things to help the team and you have to love his enthusiasm and heart!!!
Hobbits rule!! He's been one of our better players this series, and little guys usually disappear in the playoffs. guys got heart with some skill to match. Well deserved if he wins a contract!
Also look for the refs to be vocal tonight with all the complaints yesterday about officiating. I really hope they don't impact the game, but I see them having an effect tonight one way or the other.
On a not about tonights game since there was not a post about Rick Nash. It may not be fair or just, but tonight is a game that defines Rick Nash's career. People can say he played well the other night, which he did, and screened the goalie on the hot, but we need more from him. I doubt the Rangers win this game without a Power Play goal (0 for 11 on the road) and without Rick Nash being Rick Nash. In my mind these two things go hand in hand. If he finishes his first series with the Rangers with 7 games played and 1 assist he will take heat regardless of injury. I remember him saying he came here to play in games like tonight. Well go out there and show it! Be NASHTY! I believe the guy can do it, but he has to go out there and show everyone he can! LGR!
@Beckfan5 I'm a huge Zucc fan - but Brassard is a pretty damn good passer as well.......
@Betweentheworlds he would have had a goal last night too, if not for Brad Richards blocking it.
@Josh6 Nash is hurt. He's having trouble skating and his wrist is likely hurting.
@Josh6 ...the guy is injured he is doing all he can....The following is from Blueshirt Banter...I've seen a lot of media talk about Rick Nash's wrist being badly injured. I'm starting to buy those claims. He made a really big impact on Game 6, regardless, but he's simply not shooting the puck the way he did in the regular season and that doesn't make any sense. This has nothing to do with the bright lights, something is wrong. Still, he played really well Sunday, so hopefully there's more of that despite the injury.
@_Jack He's even changed my opinion and that's saying a lot. lol
@KevinDeLury @_Jack It just goes to show some of Torts critics he will give anyone a chance. if they play they way he wants they get in the lineup & get regular shifts if they don't...they don't. Look no further then big game Bradley who has played an avg of 10-minutes the last 2-games. We all thought Torts played favorites w-him I joked many times if richards kept playing bad that Torts was going to have Kreider benched in Hartford but despite being Torts favorite player he has sucked & he is not playing. However, we all know why he has his name Big Game Brad & I would not be surprised to see a goal & an assist tnite!!!! However if he does it on the PP I will be surprised cause he is miscast at the point on the PP.
@_Jack And I'm dying of laughter. Well played.