We reported the signing almost a month ago, but it was only officially announced by the Rangers today that they have inked Norwegian forward Mats Zuccarello-Aasen. "The Hobbit" played last season in the Swedish Elite League in which his 23 goals and 41 assists in 55 games earned him Most Valuable Player. For a player that is only 5-foot-7, those are remarkable numbers that attracted many teams within the National Hockey League to him like a magnet. Luckily, the Rangers beat out the rest of the competition and locked up Zuccarello-Aasen for two years.
In each of those two years, Mats will collect a $900,000 paycheck, but is capable of being sent down to the minors since his contract is reportedly a two-way deal. At those terms and for what he brings, I think Zuccarello-Aasen will be well worth it next season. He has incredible speed, a great set of hands, and most importantly, he is very strong on both sides of the puck. To average over a point a game in the Swedish Elite League is outstanding and hopefully he can bring that scoring over to the Rangers.
Could he eventually become a match with winger Marian Gaborik? It is certainly possible. I think Mats has the potential to be a fit with Marian based on his game and what I have seen of him. He is a dynamic offensive threat that I truly believe will be successful here in New York.
Read Joe Fortunato's excellent piece on the former MODO Hockey forward from when the signing was originally rumored by clicking here.