Can Mats Zuccarello Save the Season For the New York Rangers?

By Craig Moir
Alan Maglaque-USA Today Sports

One of the tremendous problems the New York Rangers have encountered this short NHL season is undoubtedly on the power play, where they are currently mired in a  7-64 slump. The lack of movement and quality shots has left coach John Tortorella and GM Glen Sather searching for answers.

Understanding that injuries to key players such as Rick Nash, Michael Del Zotto, Darroll Powe, Ryan McDonagh and Arron Asham have played a huge part in their recent woes, it is no assurance that the power play will get better upon their return.

But Sather and Tortorella just might have an ace in the hole waiting in the wings: 25-year old winger, Mats Zuccarello. Last season, Zuccarello was lauded by Tortorella for giving the Rangers a much-needed spark on the power play when he was recalled late in the year from the Connecticut Whale, their AHL affiliate.

Unfortunately, his stint with the Rangers was shortened by a broken wrist while blocking a shot in the Rangers March 23rd game. Zuccarello then signed a lucrative contract with the Mettalurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL in Russia, yet the Rangers still own his rights here in the NHL. The good thing about the contract in Russia is that it has an out clause after one season.

This could be a move that makes sense for the Rangers to try and find any spark they can before the season rears its ugly head as they sit 8-8-2 and on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Sather stated, “I’m definitely interested in talking to Zuke…I’ve always liked him as a player. We’ll see what happens.”

So as Rangers fans begin to wonder if this season will soon be lost, this will be an interesting development to watch. Hopefully with the return of injured players as well as possibly adding a winger of Zuccarello’s talent, Tortorella will have the necessary tools to make a run reminiscent of the Los Angeles Kings in last year’s playoffs.

The talent is present. The coaching is solid. Yet a confidence-building move such as this might be all it takes to get the Rangers on track.

Do you feel as if the Rangers are able to make a turn for the better and make a run at the cup?  Do you feel that a move such as bringing back Zuccarello would be good for the Rangers?  Rant your comments below.

Craig Moir is a New York Rangers writer for Follow him on Twitter @cmoir727. “Like” him on Facebook at CraigMoirRants and add him to your network on Google+

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