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Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal

Jul 22, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Getty Images

While a possible Wednesday salary arbitration session with Chris Kreider looms ominously for the New York Rangers, they avoided at least one messy confrontation today. The team signed Mats Zuccarello to a one-year, $3.5 million deal according to various sources including the New York Post’s Larry Brooks.

Rangers GM Glen Sather has developed a reputation for occasionally disastrous splashy free agent signings, rampant cigar chewing, and most important in this situation: tough negotiations with his restricted free agents. That seemed to come through in this situation, as Zuccarello will bring home about $1 million less than his reported asking price of $4.5 million.

That’s not a bad deal for a 26-year-old who led a roster full of far-more-expensive players in regular season scoring with 59 points in 2013-14.

(It’s also difficult to put a price on an under-sized player who prompts nicknames like “Frodo from Modo.”)

Brooks reports that the two sides are likely hoping to hammer out a longer-term deal to supplement this single-year commitment, although nothing official can be inked until the calendar turns to 2015.

Again, this is a big relief for a Rangers team that is seeing some serious turnover after giving the Los Angeles Kings a good fight in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Sather’s work is far from done; the Bergen Record reports that a Kreider deal is unlikely to happen today (leaving either a zero-hour deal or an awkward arbitration as the two options) and Derick Brassard‘s hearing takes place next Monday.

The Record points out that the Rangers haven’t seen a player go to arbitration since Nikolai Zherdev in 2009 and haven’t accepted an award since Sean Avery’s session back in 2007.

A varied scoring attack was a big reason why the Rangers went so deep into the playoffs, so locking up a significant part of that group is a big win for Sather during a trying summer.

  1. stakex - Jul 22, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Its pretty shocking to see a player willing to take a one year deal like that in their prime. Most players don’t want to risk an injury, or bad performance that could cost them serious money on a short term deal. Good on Zuccarello to have enough confidence in his ability to sign such a deal, and to help the team out of a serious cap jam.

    Of course while this gets the Rangers out of a jam for now, it presents problems of its own. The most obvious is that Zuccarello will be a UFA next summer if the Rangers fail to get him signed to a long term deal during the season. Also, should Zuccarello have a really good start to the season… it could end up costing the Rangers more money going forward than it would have if he was signed long term today. Still though, can’t have everything…. and for now at least, this is great news for Rangers fans.

    • billiam55 - Jul 22, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      i have full confidence he’ll resign with the rangers. love zucc

    • jpelle82 - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      he took a 1 year deal because he wants to be an unrestricted free agent. that’s why he came down on his asking price too. there will be no long term deal during the season, the rangers wont have the money for it next year either…this is a formality of niceties between two parties soon to be parting ways…

  2. billiam55 - Jul 22, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    the hobbit stays! zuuuuuuc. such an important player.

  3. bodallasss - Jul 22, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    Thank goodness finally happened. But one year?? Sather what are you smoking. After Zuc has scored 20 goals before the all star break sather is going to look like a jackass for not locking him up

  4. 950003cups - Jul 22, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    Looks like SOMEBODY is a goner next year. He better have a goooood year. I like those gambles.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      don’t know why all the thumbs down. its pretty obvious whats going on…

  5. bodallasss - Jul 22, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Also, anyone expecting Zucc in anything besides a top 6 role this year you’re dead wrong. Expect to see Hagelin on the 3rd line with Stempniak and Miller while Zucc will play with Brassard and Krieder. Dont be surprised to see Hags become trade bait around the deadline..rangers cant afford to keep both Hags and Zuc

    • stakex - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      Kreider will likely stay with Nash/Stepan on the top line. He was after all the Rangers best player in the playoffs once he came back. I think St Louis might end up on the 3rd line, unless he shows more zip than he had once he came to the Rangers.

      • barkar942 - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        Personally, the best Ranger player in the playoffs wore #30.

    • DED - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      Hags, who’s making $2.25 million, will be a RFA next summer. Expect Slats to play hardball with him like he does all his RFA’s.

  6. 19to77 - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Zuccarello set himself up for a much bigger payday next summer. If he can notch 55-60 points again he’ll be one of the best UFAs at left wing. Either the Rangers will pay up or the market will.

  7. bricevjohnson - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    This should be Colorado’s dumping grounds for O’Reilly. Trade him for Zuccarello.

    • avscup - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:39 PM

      Don’t you think Evander Kane would be a better fit with the Avs? Bigger with great speed. We need size and toughness with our scorers.

  8. phillyphanatic77 - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    Good for Zuccarello. It’s nice to see a player actually take a legitimate team-friendly deal for once. And it obviously sets himself up for a bigger payday next summer. In an NHL where $10.5 million is somehow considered a “hometown discount” to some folks, it’s nice to see a guy taking realistic fair value. Even if Zuccarello easily could’ve gotten an extra half million.

    Brassard better be taking note bc there’s no way he should be asking 5.5… that’s insane even for the free wheeling period we’re witnessing.

    • 950003cups - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      It’s not “team friendly”. It’s basically another contract year. From what it looks like, he’ll be a UFA. Then it’s a “pay me beech” season.

      • 19to77 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        You know, like that Zach Parise guy. What cheapskate team did he play for before Minnesota again?

      • 950003cups - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:50 AM

        You never mention what team you like. You just run comments off at will like you have a clue about what’s going on. But I imagine it’s either the rags, flyers or islanders. All which are known for endless bad contracts.

      • 19to77 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        Dude, every time someone asks I explain it all over again. #19 to #77. Best pass Joe Sakic ever made. I imagine you remember the one I’m talking about:

        And as for “running comments off like I have a clue what’s going on,” of course I am. That’s what we’re all doing. What the hell do you think you do when you post here, raise great insights into the state of the game? Come on, dude, we’re on an Internet sports blog.

  9. bigbadbruins77 - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    I really like watching this guy play. What a steal.

  10. 34defense2014 - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Top 6? With a guy that plays with a stick bigger them himself lol ok

    • 19to77 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      Patrick Kane, Marty St Louis, Danny Briere, Theo Fleury, Pat Verbeek, both Richard brothers, Boom-Boom Geoffrion, Ted Lindsay and Marcel Dionne. You had something to say about small NHLers, I believe?

      • avscup - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:44 PM

        Don’t forget Stan Jonathan. Meanest small guy ever!

  11. 34defense2014 - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    Boy he really put the biscuit in the basket during the Final!! lol

  12. bleedrangerblue - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    There is cups with his 2 identities.

  13. blomfeld - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    “May God have mercy upon the vanquished” … Ezekiel 36:5

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:51 PM

      Blom, will you please stop profoundly mis-quoting the Bible? Do you have any intellectual integrity?

      • blomfeld - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:39 PM

        Dearest Solutions …

        like those who originally used ‘creative license’ to produce that silly book, today I too retain ‘pragmatic license’ to interpret the bible and use it ‘any way’ I see fit … and by the way …

        “may the heels of LA continue to come down upon the heads of the Chicago” …

      • zetaone - Jul 23, 2014 at 2:27 AM

        Did you seriously just use the phrase “intellectual integrity” in the same sentence as “The Bible”?


      • jpelle82 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        zeta have you read the bible? its regarded as one of the world’s greatest literary masterpieces….whether you believe its the word of God is up to you, but you show your ignorance when you question its intellectual integrity. scholars devote lifetimes to its interpretation and study, its the most profound work of writing ever put together.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Jul 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM

        I think he meant the Bible, as a fictional work, and like all fictional work, is not an intellectual literary work.

  14. endusersolutions2013 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    “giving the Los Angeles Kings a good fight in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.”

    What the? The finals went 4-1. The Kings faced some actual competition in the WC playoffs, wining 4-3 over 3 strong teams, and with the Hawks, a very close series that was decided by a favorable bounce off a defenseman in OT.

    The very strong odds say that once again, a WC team will hoist the SC, and most likely a central division team.

    • blomfeld - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      yeah ? … and it’s about bloody time that you finally said something ‘useful’ around here ! … good show, jolly good show ! :)

    • 950003cups - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:57 AM

      That one win was a game four. The one where piles of snow on the goal line helped stop two game sinners for LA.

      Bums!…. Bums I tell ya!!! They got what they deserved. Next year, Price will make those blueskirts pay!

      • blomfeld - Jul 23, 2014 at 3:07 AM

        That’s the spirit friend !!! :)

        “May it be that 2015 finds the NY Rangers adrift in a sea of excrement and self-made snow” …

    • moarjam - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      3 out of the 4 games LA won were in overtime…

      I’d say that’s a good fight.

      Whatever, not like any of this matters.

  15. zuccrobbedtherangers - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    Bwahahahaha…. I’m taking your money and leaving next year!!

    • moarjam - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      My god made a new user name for the purpose of this article..

      You kids need to get out more! It’s summer time!

  16. 34defense2014 - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    No, has nothing to do with smaller players! But one that you mention it? Yeah most them suck!! Like the Zoo and St.loser!

    • govtminion - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:14 AM

      I dare you to make a comment that makes less sense. I’m not sure it can be done.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Jul 23, 2014 at 5:08 PM


  17. nyrnashty - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    He’s not a bad player, but I would like to see him hit the net more with his shot, 1 year at the price is good and let him get overpaid next summer by some other team if that’s what he chooses.

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