After the New York Rangers loss to the New York Islanders, John Tortorella elected to send forwards Mats Zuccarello down to the AHL. It wasn't a decision based on poor play, it was just a matter of Zuccarello not receiving enough ice time (he only played for four minutes against the Islanders) for his development.
While admitting that he was disappointed, Zuccarello said he was going to make it a point to get back with the big club as soon as possible.
That point was received last night. In his debut for the Connecticut Whale, Zuccarello buried two goals and added an assist for a three-point game.
Although it's only been one game, Zuccarello knows it's time to make his point. The young forward understands that he wasn't sent down based on anything he did wrong, which while frustrating, leave the door open wide for a return back to the big club.
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The Rangers' brass will be keeping a close eye on Zuccarello while he's with the Whale, especially if he keeps putting up performances like the one he had last night.
The other positive of the situation is that Zuccarello understands the situation. Here's what he said to Brian Ring of Howlings:
I'm here to show that I can be a player that can contribute offensively in the NHL," said Zuccarello. "That's everybody's dream down here, to play there, I've been there and I know I can play there, I just have to keep doing it here."
Also not to be overlooked is Carl Hagelin. Hagelin assisted Zuccarello's second goal, and is currently the team leader in points with three goals and two assists in five games.
He's one of the players I thought had the best shots at making the team out of camp, once training camp actually started. Hagelin has a quick shot, a nose for the net and has great vision as well. He's another player you can expect can see with the big club sooner rather then later, especially if he keeps playing like this.