This off-season, one of the New York Rangers‘ biggest priorities is re-signing restricted free agent Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello is coming off of his best year in the NHL, with 19 goals and 40 assists, totaling 59 points, which just happened to lead the entire Rangers team in points last season. Making just $1.15 million last season, after the type of year Zuccarello just had, you would think he is due for a big pay increase. But maybe not?
According to local New York sports television station, SNY, Zuccarello said that he does not think much about money, wants to stay a Ranger, and will find a way to make it work.
Will Zuccarello be true to his word? Instead of a contract worth around $4 million per year, will Zuccarello accept $3 million or even $2.5 million per year?
Only time will tell, but if I were Rangers’ GM Glen Sather, I would take Zuccarello up on his word and make him my first priority to sign. Even though Zuccarello is a restricted free agent and there is no fear of him signing with another team, if Zuccarello really meant what he says about not thinking much about money, Sather would be wise to ink him to a deal first before anyone. Doing so would allow Sather to determine how much if any salary cap space was saved, and then use that extra cash to re-sign another restricted or unrestricted free agent that Sather originally did not think was possible.
As July 1st inches closer, this will definitely be something to watch to see how it all unfolds.