2012 NHL Free Agency: Should The New York Rangers Keep Mats Zuccarello
There are many decisions that are sitting on the table for the New York Rangers. One of them is whether or not the Rangers are going to hold onto restricted free agent Mats Zuccarello.
As of right now, things don't look too good for the youngster staying on Broadway, especially because Zuccarello is displeased with the amount of time he saw with the big club. Zuccarello told this to Andrew Gross during breakup day:
I haven't really decided what I'm going to do," Zuccarello said. "I'd love to stay but, at the same time, I have to think about how much I'll play and what's good for me. If they have no room for me, I have to do what's right for me. I have to get a real shot to play. There's a lot of good players here."
Ten games, Zuccarello said, "was not enough for me."
Join me after the jump for more.
It's not surprising that Zuccarello wasn't happy with how much he was used by John Tortorella last year, although I am curious to see how much he would have played during the playoffs and at the end of the year if he didn't get injured. I'm sure if the Rangers want to keep him, that will be one of the factors they point to when they say he can make the team out of camp next year, since it seems like he would have been a consistent player in the postseason.
But that's the real question right there in that last paragraph. Do the Rangers want to keep Zuccarello?
Here's the thing: This situation is kind of the opposite of a typical RFA situation. The Rangers would have to actually do more to keep him around, mainly promising him the role he wants on the team (more ice time, 82 NHL games, things in this nature). Are the Rangers willing to do this for him? Is John Tortorella sold on the young winger, to the point where he tells Glen Sather to make sure he's back in Rangers' blue?
My guess is no. Look, I like Zuccarello, I think he can be a very effective player, but I doubt theres an equal level of want between these two sides. I think Zuccarello -- who apparently has offers from the KHL -- will find his home with another team. In fact, I get the feeling he might find his home in another league.
But if the Rangers -- who can trade his rights to a team who wants him (this is unlikely) -- want to keep the youngster they can certianly make him an offer he can't refuse. The question, again, is if they would want to.
My guess is no. What's yours?