According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the New York Rangers and Mats Zuccarello have avoided salary arbitration and agreed on a one-year deal at $1.15 million. Zuccarello's arbitration hearing was originally scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, but will no longer be necessary with both sides agreeing to terms on a new contract. Zuccarello's case was a little tricky compared to the rest of the restricted free agents, as his status within the lineup was in limbo for a majority of the summer.
That was largely due to the Rangers signing both Benoit Pouliot and Dominic Moore earlier on in the summer, which had people questioning if Zuccarello was the odd man out once again. But, you also have to remember that Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan likely won't be ready for puck drop in Phoenix on October 3rd. Even with a fully healthy lineup, the Rangers will have a pretty hefty top-nine with Zuccarello on board, as well as a legit shutdown fourth line.
Just to give you guys an idea of how awesome this lineup looks on paper, the Rangers top nine would consist of Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, Derick Brassard, Ryan Callahan, Benoit Pouliot, Brad Richards, and Mats Zuccarello. That's also not counting the supposed shutdown line of Derek Dorsett, Dominic Moore, Brian Boyle/Taylor Pyatt.
Either way, the Rangers have one more objective on their checklist (aside from Henrik Lundqvist), and that is getting Derek Stepan under contract next.
For now though, thoughts?