At this point in the offseason, salary arbitration players will start to express how much they would want per-year along with years. Last night, it was revealed what New York Rangers‘ Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard are seeking in their arbitration hearings. Zuccarello wants a multi-year deal worth $4.5 million each year, while Brassard wants something long-term at $5.5 million a year. Both of these contracts are quite the increase from their salaries last year, but at least one of these two players deserves the contract.
Zuccarello has come a long way in the NHL. Once a healthy scratch who was only used for shootout purposes, the Norwegian has become one of the key components to the Rangers’ success. This past season, he led the whole team in points while helping the third line (with Brassard on it) become the most productive line all season. At only 26, Zuccs is just entering the best years of his career.
If you watch this past season, when Zuccarello was on the ice the puck was played a lot better. Zuccs is an underrated playmaker, and while he might not score as much, he can set anybody up for a nice look. He also plays with a lot of heart and it trickles down on the rest of the team. With all of these intangibles, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t get paid like a second-liner.
On a team with a pretty solid top six, Zuccs was the best playmaker out of all of them. This is a contract you want to do immediately. Other teams definitely have interest in him, and while he said he wants to be a Ranger for life, he also said he’d take a pay cut. Talk is cheap, but Zuccarello produces big-time on the ice which is all that matters in the end. The Rangers never to pay this man.