Mats Zuccarello might be coming back to the New York Rangers if GM Glen Sather has his way. Zuccarello, 25, whose rights are still owned by the Rangers, signed a two-year deal with the Mettalurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL this past off-season but would be able to come back and play for the Rangers once that season is done which could be sometime next week.
Zuccarello does have an NHL-out clause in his contract with Mettalurg after one season but the Rangers don’t have much cap space for next season meaning the Rangers could offer him a one-way deal that would allow him to forgo his second season in Russia.
In his two seasons with the Rangers, Zuccarello has eight goals and 18 assists in 52 games. Despite his small frame, he is listed at 5’7”, he has been a spark for the Rangers at times. Coach John Tortorella believed Zuccarello was a spark on the power play after the Rangers recalled him from the Connecticut Whale. The Rangers power play currently ranks 29th at 11.1 percent, second to last in the NHL. Any help on the power play would be a welcome addition for Tortarella at this point.
The Rangers could use Zuccarello’s speed, his peskiness, and his fight at this point as the team has struggled in this shortened season going 8-8-2 in their 18 games of the shortened season. There is still time to turn things around but that time is fleeting. Bringing in Zuccarello would make sense as he is familiar with the Rangers’ system and can help right away.
The Rangers are also looking at bringing in two other 21-year-old forwards, Oscar Linberg and Jesper Fasth who are currently playing in the Swedish Elite League. The Swedish Elite League ends in the third or fourth week of April depending on the playoffs.