Rangers have at least 6 teams interested in Mats Zuccarello
As the NHL Trade Deadline draws near almost all conversation around the league will be focused on it. The closer we get, the more we will know who all the buyers and sellers are and what players are officially being shopped.
The one Ranger that has been mentioned since the last trade deadline is Mats Zuccarello. He, out of all the possible Blueshirts named to be on the move is the most likely.
Last season the Rangers were looking for a 1st round pick for Mats Zuccarello. It was said that teams out West were the most interested, with Calgary being one of the confirmed teams, but a deal could not be reached. GM Jeff Gorton opted to hold onto Zuccarello and see if there was interest at the draft. That also did not materialize into a deal.
This season started with a new coach and the fan favorite was feeling very unwanted. Whether it was being on the block last season or the new coach not making contact during the summer, Zuccarello’s mindset was affected and that showed on the ice. Add on some injuries and Mats was off to a horrendous start and his trade value plummeted.
Heating Up and Drawing Attention
Now the trade deadline is 8 days away and Mats Zuccarello is on fire. In his last 15 games Mats has 21 points. That is amazing when you consider in his previous 28 games he only had 14 points attributed to the back of his hockey card.
With all those points comes the attention, as teams are now being linked to the highest scoring NHL player from Norway. In the last few days, hockey insiders from Elliotte Friedman to Bob McKenzie have mentioned the Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars as legitimate destinations for Zuccarello.
Late yesterday, Larry Brooks’ latest Slap Shots confirmed that the Penguins are looking into Mats for the playoffs. Of course the question is will they be willing to give up their 1st round pick which could be as high as 15 to 20th at the draft.
Previously, the Winnipeg Jets and Las Vegas Knights were talked about as teams with interest in Zuccarello. The Jets were one of those teams out West last year that made a push for him at the deadline.
When Will The Trade Happen
There has been speculation that the Rangers may scratch Mats Zuccarello as soon as today in order to facilitate a deal. Of course, you have the counter argument that since they have just opened discussions with him on his contract demands, he may be staying.
While it could be a possibility to re-sign him, that outcome appears very low. And if the Rangers did choose to scratch him today or during the week it doesn’t mean a deal is imminent. From what I’ve gathered the deal will likely come next weekend.
There are pieces out there like winger Mark Stone’s situation that may need to be resolved before a deal is made. In truth, the hopes that Zuccarello will land a first round pick are a fantasy unless the list of available wingers is so low that a contender will pony up that valuable pick.
The Rangers are patient as we have seen dating back to the last deadline. Gorton is not going to rush or make deals just for the sake of it. That’s a good thing for the future of the rebuild and the franchise.