The New York Rangers and forward Mats Zuccarello are headed for salary arbitration at some point in the next week or so. This means that a third party will decide what his salary will be and then it’s up to the Rangers if they want to sign him to that. The two parties can avoid arbitration if they decide on a deal before hand.
While Zuccarello is talented, he is not a piece of the core the Rangers have. The main priority for the Rangers right now is signing center Derek Stepan, who is the teams No. 1 center. They already took care of Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin and Justin Falk. It will be difficult to sign both Stepan and Zuccarello. According to capgeek, the Rangers have a little over $3 million to spend. This will most likely be used to ink Stepan, leaving Zuccarello as the odd man out.
Zuccarello signed with the Rangers late into the season in 2013. He played 15 games with the team, but was a big spark for them. He brought creativity and skill to a struggling offense. He ended up with three goals and five assists for eight total points. He also became a big factor during the postseason. He played in all 12 of the teams playoff games and ended up with one goal and six assists for seven points. When paired with Derick Brassard and Brian Boyle, both on a line and on the power play, Zuccarello shined. The trio combined for two of the teams four power play goals during the playoffs.
If the Rangers can somehow keep Zuccarello, it would be a great. But if the Rangers can’t afford him, it is not a huge loss for the organization.