Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports that because last night was Mats Zuccarello's 69th NHL game in his first three years in the league he became an impending Group II restricted free agent rather than an impending Group VI unrestricted free agent.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement if he finished the year having played fewer than 69 NHL games he would have been an unrestricted free agent.
...i can't believe I'm saying this, but the Rangers need to make re-signing Zuccarello a priority this offseason. He has been everything and more since re-joining the team this season. He's given the Rangers a spark with his playmaking ability and physical prowess.
...it's also great, with Zuccarello being an RFA, that the Rangers will have all the leverage in contract negotiations, especially when they'll need to re-sign so many other important free agents this summer (Clowe - UFA, Stepan - RFA, Hagelin - RFA and McDonagh - RFA).
We don't need players like Zuccarello - we need players BETTER than Zuccarello. That's why we're losing! I swear, you could put a Ranger jersey on a goat and you 'fan boys' will love it and support it. This team will not win anything as constructed this year. Yes, the trade w/Columbus helped with the players accuired along with minus Gaborik. WE still need to rid ourselves of Brad Richards, Pyatt, Boyle, Zuccarello, Stralman, Eminger, and most important... Tortorella!
Crazy that if we had not made the playoffs he would have become an unrestricted free agent! Glad we made it!
I disagree on signing him. A guy that size who doesn't kill penalties has got to be a scorer. MZA doesn't score I'm sad to say. Even in the KHL he only had 11 goals in 44 games.He brings some energy, he passes well, but he needs to score goals.
Sather is going to have to drive a hard bargain to get all those guys resigned under the cap. That and cut/trade Asham and Pyatt.
MZA FTW. Been following him since before day one, as everyone who reads my comments knows :p HUGE fan, dude is a wrecking ball and gives 110%. He loves the team, the team loves him. Must sign.
Kevin, glad you're finally coming around. Heh.
Stoked for Zucc - I've always believed in him and am VERY glad he's gotten the opportunity and done so well with it!!! LGR!!!
Zucc may have been the second best forward last night. Lots of creativity, sees the ice really well. Must sign and play him as a top 6 forward next year.
@MikeBlue ...Which is why we're developing players in the AHL so they can one day take the place of Richards, Pyatt, Boyle, Zuccarello, Stralman, and Eminger. It'll take time for them to be ready. Also, Zucc has earned his play time this season, the guy has been solid on the forecheck, plays his heart out every shift, and has been a bit of a spark for Richie.