You can finally put those trade rumors to bed regarding Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello. The Norwegian forward has inked a four-year deal, paying him an annual hit of $4.5 million.
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) March 1, 2015
Nobody was more excited about the announcement that Zuccarello teammate Derrick Brassard, who was quick to post this on his Instagram:
In the days leading up to the trade deadline, set to take place tomorrow until Noon, Zuccarello and management were at two different opinions of what Mats was worth to the team and it seemed likely that the 5’7 forward would not be back with the team and instead traded by the deadline. With all rumors circulating, they died down quickly when the Rangers announced a trade, picking up defenseman Keith Yandle, at 50% of his contract, and prospect Chris Summers, for forward John Moore, prospect Anthony Duclair and a 1st round pick. Shortly after the announcement, word around social media speculated that Zuccarello was on the cusp of signing a new deal with New York. The rumours were backed up by Zuccarello’s poor play, this season. In 59 games this season, the small forward averaged just over 17 minutes of ice time and has put up just 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists), which places him just outside of the pace of last season’s totals. Zuccarello certainly has the talent and skill level to do more, but with his level of play, it seemed unjustified to give him the money he was reportedly asking for. Small and speedy, Zuccarello has drawn comparisons to the Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais, not only in similar in size and stature but the way they play the game as well. Head coach Alain Vigneault made it clear he wanted the team to re-sign Zuccarello and went to bat for him several times. Today, when asked about whether Zuccarello would be in the line-up, Vigneault responded with uncertainty.
This, of course, led to a heap of speculation all over social media. However once the big trade went down, all murmurs on Twitter were shushed and the announcement of Zuccarello’s re-signing followed quickly. According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the no trade clause will be finalized in the morning:
That final piece of Zuccarello deal is expected to be formalized in the morning. #TradeCentre
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 2, 2015
Despite the trade and signing, however, the Rangers still need to consider making a move to cut some costs. They are currently status quo after taking Yandle at half his salary for this year and next, due to giving big money to Zuccarello while also shedding minimal cap in both John Moore and Anthony Duclair. The end may not be yet here for Glen Sather and the New York Rangers.
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