The New York Post's Larry Brooks reports that Glen Sather will look into bringing back Mats Zuccarello at some point this season. From the article:
“I’m definitely interested in talking to Zuke,” Sather said before the Rangers’ 4-3 loss to the Jets last night. “I’ve always liked him as a player. We’ll see what happens.”
Zuccarello opted to go back to Europe and is currently playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL, who are currently involved in the first round of the KHL playoffs. Zuccarello has produced 28 points in 44 games this season and scored late in the game last night to give his team the win.
Zuccarello would not return (if at all) to the Rangers until his KHL season concludes, which of course will depend on how far Metallurg goes in the playoffs, which could be as late as the end of April.
Of course it's no lock that Zuccarello will even want to come back or that agreeable terms for both sides could be found, but it's an interesting prospect. Zuccarello has said in the past that he'd be open to a return to the Rangers. However, the big question in his mind is what his role would be going into next year. It's unlikely that, as a 26 year old, he has any interest in spending more time in the AHL. But he had not proven the past two years that he deserved a permanent spot in the NHL. So Sather and Tortorella will be cautious with what they're willing to promise him.
We know Zuccarello's limitations and inability to stay consistent shift-by-shift and game-by-game. But it makes sense that the Rangers would look to add him. The Rangers sorely lack call-up options from the AHL; Thomas is not ready yet and Mashinter and Bickel just aren't good enough. If the Rangers could bring in a depth forward who can make some sort of impact even every other game then it would be an upgrade. Zuccarello is certainly capable of that. He also knows the team's system (even if he struggled with it) and would add some poise and offensive vision to a powerplay that desperately needs all the help it could possibly get.
Even the best teams look to add depth close to the trading deadline, and the Rangers certainly are going to be on the search for offensive depth. Bringing in a guy who plays with passion, is familiar with the team, and can add some offensive flair is preferable to moving a prospect or draft pick to make an addition.
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