Ralph Krueger: Mats Zuccarello’s ‘free spirit makes him extremely dangerous’ on the ice

Zuccarello has been thriving in international competition lately.

Team Norway isn’t playing in the World Cup of Hockey, but Team Europe has a Norwegian on it. More specifically, it has Mats Zuccarello - and he’s been busy with international competition, as of late.

Mere days ago, he helped Team Norway qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics; now, he’s practicing on a top line with Dane Mikkel Boedker and Slovenian Anze Kopitar.

Team Europe’s head coach, Ralph Krueger, likes his top line - but it’s Zuccarello who’s really standing out to him. In an article for NHL.com, Kruger had great praise for him, saying, "Mats is one that's surprising. And his free spirit makes him extremely dangerous every time he's on the ice. And if you have the right support, that's an interesting element."

Kopitar is probably the standout on that line - he scored 74 points in 81 games last season - but it’s easy to remember Zuccarello is right up there with him, having led the Rangers in scoring with his first-ever 60+ point season (61 in 81 games, to be exact).

We’ll see where this season leads him - but right now, he’s off to a fantastic start.