New York Rangers‘ forward Mats Zuccarello and the team’s front office is said to be very close to reaching a deal that would bring the Norwegian hobbit back to the Rangers for at least another year.
It was rumored before that because of defenseman Ryan McDonagh‘s hefty six-year contract worth $28.2 million and with the team still needing to resign restricted free agent center Derek Stepan, Zuccarello supposedly demanded a contract worth $2 million per year or he could be on his way out of New York.
However, it turns out that this was indeed a false report and that in reality he and the Rangers are very close to working out a deal that is less than $2 million.
So now that it appears Zuccarello will probably be returning to the Rangers this season, where does that leave this team financially?
Well, since I am most certain the Rangers will re-sign Stepan, that will leave the Rangers with little to no wiggle room towards the salary cap. As a matter of fact, with both Zuccarello and Stepan under contract, I am sure the Rangers would definitely be over the cap.
So what a Zuccarello-signing would mean is that a trade is indeed imminent. Now who is to be traded? I don’t know, but my guess it would be a forward or two. Maybe Taylor Pyatt and Brian Boyle, or the two Rangers the organization recently placed on waiver, Aaron Asham and Darroll Powe. However, since both Asham and Powe cleared waivers, it would be unlikely that a team would acquire them in a trade since they could have picked both of them up without having to give away a player or draft pick.
Is Zuccarello worth having back for the 2013-2014 season?
I would say yes, but he is not a necessity by any means. The deal has to be fair and cheap, since the Rangers have way more important signings that they have to take care of before the start of the season in October.
Now, I am no expert on contracts, but if Zuccarello is signed for two years for around $1.25-$1.5 million per year, I think Rangers fans would take that deal.