If Zuccarello return to New York, what type of impact can we expect?
Yesterday we learned that the New York Rangers and Mats Zuccarello were a whole heck of a lot closer to reuniting than anyone had previously thought, punctuated by Zuccarello's representatives visiting New York Thursday to talk to Glen Sather.
Zuccarello played in 10 games for the Rangers last season, scoring two goals and one assist. John Tortorella mostly used Zuccarello as a power play specialist, averaging three minutes of power play time a night during his stay with the big club. The season before, Zuccarello potted 23 points in 42 games.
The Rangers' interest in Zuccarello likely comes for two reasons: Zuccarello can bring some offensive flair to the bottom two lines, and he can be a jolt to the power play. Two major issues the Rangers have right now, especially with all of their injuries (read: Rick Nash).
Zuccarello wouldn't be able to be signed until his season with the KHL is over. Zuccarello -- who posted 28 points in 44 regular season games for Magnitogorsk Metallurg -- is currently in the first round of the KHL playoffs. The Rangers can strike a deal with him the moment he and his team are eliminated (or win the entire thing -- which would take longer).
Let's make something clear right now: Zuccarello is not going to be the saving grace of this team. He might help bolster the power play, and he might help the offense a little, but the Rangers need to find their game and their chemistry before we see any true change. I still think it can happen, and I do expect it to happen soon.
With that being said, I do think Zuccarello would help. Right now the Rangers have very little scoring in their bottom six (and I won't include Chris Kreider or J.T. Miller there since neither is really being given an opportunity to go out and be those free-range players).
In terms of money, this deal would be a wash. Zuccarello isn't going to command a ton of money, and the Rangers have plenty of room for him under this year's cap. Next year might be a different story, but you have to figure Zuccarello will jump on the chance to prove he can be successful in the NHL.
Thoughts on all of this, guys?