Mats Zuccarello admits he may not be here come March 2nd

Mats Zuccarello (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mats Zuccarello (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mats Zuccarello knows the time is now to start producing. We wrote recently that he has 15 games to show Sather and company what he can do or he may be somewhere else come March 2nd.

Prior to picking up an assist in a much needed 4-1 victory over Carolina, Zuccarello told Larry Brooks of the NY Post:

“I think everybody knows where I stand. I want to be here,” Zuccarello told Slap Shots this week. “But if there’s not room for me, there’s nothing I can do about that.
“I understand that is part of the business.”

VG Sport in Norway is also reporting that it is likely Zuccarello could be dealt by the March 2nd deadline.

These are just the harsh realities you need to live with in the salary cap era. The Rangers will have approximately $20-21M in cap space to sign:

Derek Stepan (RFA), Martin St. Louis (UFA), Mats Zuccarello (UFA), Carl Hagelin (RFA), JT Miller (RFA), Lee Stempniak (UFA), Jesper Fast (RFA), John Moore (RFA) and Matt Hunwick (UFA).

Basically the Rangers have to spend about 21M to field two lines and a 6th defenseman, plus extra skaters. Once you give 10 million of that cap to Stepan and MSL, that leaves you with 11 million for 5 forwards and 2 defenseman.

Are you starting to see how the math isn’t working in Zuccarello’s favor here? You can also say goodbye to Stempniak and likely Moore and Hunwick as well.

As Brooks writes:

This means, a) the Blueshirts will be restricted going into the deadline, and, b) they likely are to be restricted when it comes to signing both Martin St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello, both of whom are pending free agents, neither of whom is having a particularly good season and with neither of whom have the Rangers made any progress toward an extension.

The problem for Zuccarello is that Marty’s poor season is still more productive than his. Even more so, he may be willing to take less and for maybe 1 year. That will give the Rangers options as prospects like Anthony Duclair and Pavel Buchnevich are ready to take on larger roles.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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