Bantering Points: Mats Zuccarello Files For Arbitration Edition

Al Bello

Some early morning bantering points focused around the Rangers free agents right now.

- Yesterday was a pretty eventful day. First the New York Rangers signed Carl Hagelin to a two-year contract worth $2.25-million per year. Then the Rangers signed Justin Falk for one year worth $975K. Not a bad day for Glen Sather at all.

- Quick thing to note: Yesterday was the final day players could file for arbitration. I was a little surprised that Hagelin and Falk were signed before Derek Stepan until I realized Stepan isn't arbitration eligible. Obviously Sather wanted to focus on Hagelin, Falk and Mats Zuccarello before Stepan, not because of importance, but because he has more time to work with Stepan. It makes sense.

- Now, the Rangers and Zuccarello were negotiating and couldn't come to an agreement, so Zuccarello filed for arbitration. Remember, teams can still sign players before their hearing, so this looks like nothing more than a formality. Also remember that this is a player filed arbitration, not a team filed arbitration. The difference? When a player files for it the team has the option to walk away (although that sets the RFA free as an UFA), when the team files for arbitration on a player they have no choice but to take the arbitrators ruling.

- Also keep in mind the Rangers can spend up to 10% over the cap until the season begins. Right now the Rangers only have about $3.3-million left in cap space. That figure does include the Darroll Powe and Arron Asham contracts, though, which means the Rangers have closer to $5-million in cap space to work with for Stepan and Zuccarello.

- I do think the Rangers want to and will keep Zuccarello, and I don't think things will go as far as arbitration.

- I have a feeling we're going to see a trade before the season begins, and I can't shake the fact that the Rangers might try to move Taylor Pyatt. Brian Boyle most likely isn't going anywhere, and I suppose the Rangers might keep Pyatt, too, but I can't shake this feeling that Danny Kristo is going to make the team out of camp. Just a gut feeling.

Thoughts?

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