New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather said there's a chance the forward known as "The Hobbit" could be back in the Big Apple. Mats Zuccarello is currently playing with the Mettalurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), where he had 11 goals and 28 points in 44 regular season games.
The KHL is currently in the first round of the playoffs, and Slather will likely approach Zuccarello about a possible return to New York when the playoffs are completed.
“I’m definitely interested in talking to Zuke,” Sather said before the Rangers’ 4-3 loss to the Jets last night. “I’ve always liked him as a player. We’ll see what happens.”
The deal to bring Zuccarello back, however, will have to be a one-way deal, and it must be lucrative enough to convince him to leave the league. That could be the most difficult aspect of bringing the 25-year-old winger back, as the Rangers are really tight on cap space.
Zuccarello, whom the Rangers signed as a free agent over the summer of 2010, recorded 26 points (8-18) in 52 games over parts of two seasons in New York. But he was cited as a spark on the power play by head coach John Tortorella when recalled late last season from the AHL Connecticut Whale. Zuccarello added much-needed poise to the Blueshirts' power play for a seven-game span until he sustained a broken left wrist that occurred when he tried block a shot on March 23.
Last night, Zuccarello scored the game-winning goal with four seconds to go for his team in last night’s Game 4 of the first round against Salavat Yulaev to knot the best-of-seven series at 2-2. Game 5 will be played Friday, with Game 6 set for Sunday.
If the team fails to advance to the next round, look for Sather to call Zuccarello and his agent.
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