The New York Rangers and Mats Zuccarello, who filed for arbitration, are not far apart in their contract negotiations, according to Zuccarello through Norwegian news source TV 2.
The New York Post's Larry Brooks reported on Thursday that Zuccarello is reportedly seeking $2 million per season, but Zuccarello denies the report, saying that "12 million Krones" or the equivalent of $2 Million U.S. Dollars was "too much." A rough translation from the TV 2 article:
"12 million? It's too much. I will not comment on how much I crave, but I would not say it's unreasonable sums. I've been at the club more or less for three years now and has played well in the games I've had a chance. I meant that they got to the playoffs, and played a good playoffs. So I'm sure if they had the money we had agreed earlier,"
Zuccarello goes on to say that the Rangers and he are "not that far off" and that "it will probably work out." He also admits that other teams have contacted his agent with interest but that he focus is "only on the Rangers."
Zuccarello's impact and whether he is a right fit for the Rangers can be debated, but this much should be acknowledged: One has to love his seeming undying commitment to the Rangers. He could very easily use other teams as leverage or perhaps even go elsewhere and get more money and a more prominent role than he'd get here. But, for whatever reason(s), Zuccarello is willing to kill his own negotiating power with public comments and make negotiations with the Rangers as amicable as possible. He is a guy who wants to be a Ranger above all else and make a difference, and with the number of players we have seen half-hazardly put on the jersey that much has to be admired.
One has to also think that Sather has informed Zuccarello of the reality of the team's cap situation. Ultimately, there is probably a roster spot and cap space for Zuccarello so long as he is willing to work with the Rangers to make it happen. He'll very likely be a Ranger next season and probably will strike a deal with the Rangers before arbitration becomes necessary.
Follow Me On Twitter: @Herman_NYRBlog
Email Me: AdamNYRBlog@gmail.com