Why Mats Zuccarello Needs To Be Part Of The Rangers Future
ZUUUCCCCC! The echoes of his name in Madison Square Garden sends chills through the stands right before the starting lineup is announced and the puck is about to drop. Mats Zuccarello has found his way into the heart of every Blueshirts fan, and imprinted on the ice we all call home. Mats is entering his seventh year this upcoming season, and many fans are divided in views of keeping the beloved Hobbit, or giving him the opportunity to go for a Cup somewhere else. I’m one of those that truly believes Zucc needs to be with the Rangers long-term and here’s why.
Zuccarello’s Playing Style
Zuccarello has a playmaker’s eye that most hockey players can only dream of having. His physical coordination reflects accuracy from his soccer, handball, and indoor hockey backgrounds. He’s well-experienced in the pace of the game, given the exposure he received playing in the KHL for Russia during his brief departure in the 2011-2012 season. This short departure proved to assist Zuccarello excel in his efforts on the ice and find his groove, which he channels when the puck drops. Since then, Zuccarello has successfully surpassed 40+ points per season in each of his five full seasons with the Rangers.
He remains in control of the puck as he makes his strides in his fast tempo style. Zucc has the competitiveness to keep up with younger players and fits in well with veterans. He is consistent with making an effort for an outcome rather than playing the puck without direction. Zucc is aware of his teammates throughout his shifts and seeks to make plays even in impossible circumstances. The Rangers need an opportunist which is exactly what Zuccarello embodies on the ice. A remarkable moment that highlights Zuccarello’s abilities to settle the puck with patience and make an incredible shot on the power play for an OT win against the Boston Bruins this past December is featured below.
Mats Zuccarello is well-known for his charismatic energy, leadership abilities and resiliency. Every time Zucc touches the ice, he plays with heart while remaining focus on the task at hand when the clock is ticking down to the end of the period. During warmups, he is the most optimistic player engaging his teammates in light chatter and encouragement. He helps establish the “game time” feel for his fellow teammates and is the last one off the ice, ensuring everyone has properly warmed up to face their opponents. He positively motivates his teammates, however, he is not a shy one to call his teammates out for missing a shot or opportunity of advancement on the ice.
Zuccarello also perfectly captures his feisty attitude on the ice against his opponents. He is fearless of whomever he may encounter and knows how to pester them into annoyance. Zucc knows what makes his opponents tick which gives him the upper hand in determining what to do next once he’s in their head. Most may agree that Zucc represents a mild Sean Avery in his antics to get on his opponent’s nerves. Zucc will nudge or push around his opponents without hesitation just to get a stride closer to their net.
Mats Zuccarello has been recognized for his athleticism through nominations for several awards and his overall skill set. Since his debut in the NHL, Zuccarello has received 10 awards over the past eight years and achieved milestones along the way. Zucc has had the honor of receiving the Steven McDonald Extra Effort award three times in the last five seasons. The Steven McDonald is an award especially significant to the New York Rangers organization and is awarded to a player each season for beyond the normal call of duty.
Zucc has achieved recognition for his exceptional skill set as a Norwegian player for the most goals in one season and most points in one season in the NHL in 2014. He was awarded “Norwegian Team Player of the Year” by the Norwegian Sports Awards three consecutive years from 2014-2016. Zucc has also achieved obtaining the “Aftenposten” Gold Medal in 2015.
Zucc needs to be a Forever Blueshirt
Throughout the past eight years, Mats Zuccarello has reflected his determination for greatness through his playing style, overall character and his achievements. He has shown consistency and reliability, which is exactly what the New York Rangers need with the organization heading into the rebuild. Zucc is an ideal player who can adapt to changes within the organization while maintaining his focus on the game we all love. Zucc’s energy and goal-oriented mindset has positively influenced those around him with his ability to make the impossible possible. He has proven to be an asset to the team’s vision through his performance these past few seasons and he still has the drive to continue pushing for the team’s end goal for a Stanley Cup win. That is why he needs to be a Blueshirt long-term. Zucc has become the heart of the New York Rangers.