Mats Zuccarello’s Ceiling
In March of 2013, Mats Zuccarello agreed to terms on a 1 year deal with the New York Rangers, the team he left at the end of the 11-12 season. Many wondered if the Rangers would re-sign him since he didn’t fit in John Tortorella’s style of play.
Well, Glen Sather had other plans in firing Torts and bringing back the Norwegian Dynamo. The feeling was mutual as Zucc knew the Rangers were in a salary cap bind, but he wanted to be a part of this team. So he took less money (1.15m per year) to stay on Broadway. The contract had a “Let my play dictate my salary” type feel. Well, during the 2013-2014 campaign, the rugged little winger excelled mightily.
Zuccarello is set to be an RFA for the New York Rangers, and I think it’s pretty clear he earned himself a nice paycheck after he led the team in scoring during the regular season (59 pts in 77 games) and almost carried them to the Cup on his little 5’7 stature.
Assuming he stays in New York, what is the most we can expect from the player known as “The Hobbit”? Well, I believe it starts with his line-mates. This season he played with Derrick Brassard (RFA) and Beniot Pouliot (UFA), both of whom are also set to be Free Agents.
Zuccarello was at his best while playing with these two and was a huge spark plug for the entire team. With much change coming to Broadway this off-season, Mats might have to adjust to playing with a new winger and/or center next year.
Will Mats Zuccarello be the NYR’s leading scorer again? That would be tough with players like Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash on the team. Still, it’s hard to simply dismiss the notion. However, I believe we will see him hit a 70-75 point season in the near future.
I think having another small guy like Martin St. Louis in the locker room can also help the Norwegian forward. When you’re smaller than everyone else on the ice you have to make up for it in other areas, like with speed and elusiveness.
Some even better news for his potential is the fact that last year was only his first full season in the NHL. He also excelled for Norway at the Olympics, although they didn’t succeed in medaling. I think he proved himself big time by being the only NHL Player on that team and performing against the world’s best the way he did.
So banking on the hope that the Rangers re-sign the 26 year old winger from Norway, I’d expect even better things to come out of him in the next few seasons.
[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYYtHMawYGI”]Game Seven Highlights – [/su_youtube]