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Rangers, Zuccarello have ‘good’ initial contract talks

Jul 3, 2014, 10:52 AM EDT

Mats Zuccarello #36 of the New York Rangers celebrates a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during their game on March 6, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
(March 5, 2011 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

The New York Rangers have had an offseason filled with turnover — losing Brad Richards, Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman and Benoit Pouliot while adding Dan Boyle and Tanner Glass — so it had to be comforting to hear that negotiations are going well with last year’s leading scorer, RFA winger Mats Zuccarello.

From the New York Daily News:

Zuccarello’s agent, Craig Oster, reiterated his optimism Wednesday when he told the Daily News that the Newport Sports team had a “good” meeting with Gorton at last weekend’s NHL draft in Philadelphia.

Oster said Zuccarello knows the Rangers have a cap squeeze, the Blueshirts know he’s valuable, and they simply have to find a contract that fits both of their needs.

After the dust settled from the first two days of free agency, New York emerged with around $15 million in cap space to re-sign Zuccarello and fellow RFAs John Moore, Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider. While Kreider might be the most important long-term — just 23, the budding power forward had 17 goals last year and finished 10th in Calder voting — Zuccarello is the most pressing concern for the present.

The diminutive Norwegian played a huge role for the Rangers last season and did it on a tidy one-year, $1.5 million deal. He was a consistent producer both in the regular season (59 points in 77 games) and playoffs (13 in 25), all while averaging more than 17 minutes a night. At 26, he’s got plenty of quality years ahead of him and while he and Brassard will miss Pouliot — that line was New York’s best at times last season — it shouldn’t be too overwhelming a departure.

As such, the big question lingers… how much is Zuccarello going to command? Per Norwegian news outlet VG Sporten, Zuccarello is reportedly looking at a four-year pact worth $4-$5 million annually. If accurate, that really puts a dent in New York’s available money for its remaining RFAs.

  1. petersteelewannabe - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    As a Flyers fan I think Sather should offer no more than $2M a year…and be firm about it!

    • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      at 2 Million he will walk and accept offers from other teams. Any one that watched the playoffs clearly would pay the kid atleast 3.5-4.5 per year. What your telling me is that Rick Nash deserves his 8 mil for looking like a jackass when this kid plays his heart out and only deserves 2 mil…. No wonder why the flyers always suck.

      • petersteelewannabe - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        “at 2 million he will walk”, my bad, I should have known a Rangers fan wouldn’t get it-sarcasm, look it up. Jesus…

      • moarjam - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        pretty sure that guy isn’t a fan of the rangers…

      • 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        He’s minimum at $3.4 per. If he gets a higher offer outside, the minimum compensation would be a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick. Under $3.3 per wold cost only a 2nd round pick as compensation. Clearly worth it.

      • 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        he’ll sign either a decent amount for a year then be a UFA if he doesn’t get a deal he likes.

      • DED - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        This Ranger fan caught the joke from the Flyer fan. I’m sure you would love it if that happened. :)

      • DED - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        Whoops. Just saw on Cap Geek that the Rangers are down to $14 million (Chris Mueller got $600k) so Zuc getting $4 mil would leave them with $10 mil.

        IMO Brass could get $4 mil and Krieder $2 mil. Maybe $2.5 mil. That would leave them with $3.5 – $4 mil of space. Plenty to bring up JT Miller.

  2. pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Go to NJ Zuc! You Lundqvist and McDonagh have no chance winning a cup over there.

    NJ needs a guy like this fast skater, good shot and for his size the guy can hit too. He was awesome all through the playoffs this season. Him and Krieder were their two best forwards. Hagelin too on the PK. Poor Henrik….. Its never enough for those Dirty Rags

    • moarjam - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      Totally. NJ is much closer to a cup…

      • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        Theres a difference between being Closer to winning a cup and Never winning another one…. The rangers have had a Phenominal team for years and they cant pull themselves together to get the job done.

        Also I am very sorry to inform you but if they expect to count on (an ageing) Lundqvist to make 40+ saves in the playoffs every game it is never going to happen. Look at the difference just in 3 years for the kings. The 1st cup they won because of Jonathan Quick and no one else. yeah they scored a few goals but he was the only reason why they made it that far just like the Duck and Gigure in ’03.

        Then compare that second cup run…. Quick still played ok towards the end when it counted but there was no way in hell they were getting past the sharks or any of the other series in the western confernece with out their ENTIRE TEAM tightening up defensively. Even Kopitar their best OFFENSIVE player was rarley trying to score goals. He knew what needed to be done. He just took away the slot and played in the high slot and just moving the puck around. he wasnt getting breakways and such like he did when they won the first cup. Doesnt matter, you guys know it all. Sorry Ranger fans when your hearts get broken next year, and the year after that and so on and so fourth. You will never be able to actually win a cup and have depth now that Hank is signed for over 8 mill and your best offensive guy NASH is also making over 8 million. i just dont see it happening the way you guys do. Boyle was great for them and they let him go. And the number 1 reason why they wanted Martin St Louis just got bought out.

        Dont forget. NJ was only 2-3 points out of a play off spot last year and i guarantee they make it further into the playoffs this year than the rangers or even the flyers for that matter. Just remember this post and the guy that knows nothing when March-April time come around

      • 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

        You tell em PJ! Don’t listen to them! You got this homie!

      • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        The rangers even had Gretzky on their team and even that poor guy was like F this Iam out! and retired. He didnt retire because he was happy with the rags he retired because they were so bad that he wondered what the hell he was even doing there. He said to himself “No one can be this bad, AYE?”

    • billiam55 - Jul 3, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      f off

  3. nobandwagoners - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Based on his performance, he’s worth his asking price of $4m per season for 4 years. The Rangers would be foolish, IMO, to let him go unless Sather thinks that this past year was an anomaly and questions whether he’ll continue to produce. But I wouldn’t bet against Zuccarello.

    • DED - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      Absolutely right. Zuc earned it. With so many guys leaving, Sather’s got the room. Still leaves him with $10.6 million for Brassard and Kreider.

    • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:21 PM

      They have to re-sign him. If they don’t they really are complete idiots. Even if hes not getting points that kid plays 110% every game.

  4. doknyc - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    i think we def need to keep zuc…

    but im still laughing my ass off about giroux… (pun intended)

  5. rupp246 - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Go to New Jersey,
    And New Jersey has a better chance of winning the cup next year than the Rangers? Put down the “kool aid” and throw some cold water on your face because your in a daze.

    • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      yep. You will see….. they were only 2-3 points out of a playoff spot last year and the year before that. I love when people under estimate the Devils because every year they do…. They make it to the Stanley Cup.

      • 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        I’m not as optimistic as you. I’m thinking my name will stay this way for a couple years. But no doubt, the rags lost some important pieces this offseason. Compounded with what they lust prior to that and they’re in trouble with hefty contracts getting older and older. Last season was a complete fluke. They injured Price and were able to duck Boston. Plus Philly didn’t have a healthy goalie either. They beat one team (barely) with a starting goalie, and his name was Fleury. Lol

      • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        I agree to the fullest. Steve Mason did play like a beast for philly. He was just a little to late. Even if he was healthy the way that team TRIES to play defense. They wouldn’t have made it much further anyway.

  6. bleedrangerblue - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Sounds like pj is a closet Ranger fan.

    • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      Funny thing is I was born in NY and moved. Grew up watching the Devils and the Avs. I will always be a NJ Devils fan. I have faith in my club. They always come close to the playoffs or make it pretty far in them. They won 3 Cups in 8 years. More than a lot of other fans can say about their teams. Just wish their Drafting and Developing abilites where like they were in the mid 90’s when we had guys like Scott Gomez come from out of no where. Always had under rated players like Elias, Arnott, Ralfalski, Sykora, Bobby Holik and so on… That just goes to show you though that good goal tending and Good Team DEFENSE can create offense and win you games. I always love watching front loaded teams like Tampa Bay, Philly and Edmonton lose.

      • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:10 PM

        even the Islanders are starting to look like that. I dont even know if they have a goalie now that that piece of dust they called Nabokov departed. Sad. He was a good goalie and they expected way too much out of him at his age.

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