The New York Rangers have reached a one-year deal with forward Mats Zuccarello worth $3.5 million, according to TSN and other league sources. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the deal, as he hopes to convince the hockey world that his career year in 2013-2014 wasn’t a fluke.
At 26 years old, Zuccarello led the Rangers with 59 points (19 G, 40 A) in 77 regular season games this year. In the postseason, the Norwegian speedster registered five goals and eight assists in 23 playoff contests, leading New York to a Stanley Cup Final appearance.
An arbitration hearing was scheduled on Friday in order to solve a contract dispute between the two parties, but the Rangers were able to bring their leading scorer back to the Big Apple.
Zuccarello has spent parts of four campaigns with the the Rangers, managing to put up 93 points in 144 career NHL games.
After failing to reach an extension in 2012-2013, the 5’7″ NHL’er agreed to play with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League for 44 games before returning to New York.
Although Rangers GM Glen Sather would have liked to lock up Zuccarello to a long-term deal, the Rangers should possess enough cap space in order to sign restricted free agents Chris Kreider and Derick Brassard without breaching the $69 million cap ceiling.
Kreider has an arbitration meeting with the Rangers management group on Wednesday, while Brassard’s is scheduled for July 28th.
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