In case you missed it, Mats Zuccarello's salary arbitration hearing has been scheduled for July 31st.
The Rangers can still negotiation with Zuccarello until the hearing, however, they will not be able to walk away from the salary awarded unless it is above $3.5 million per. Reader lennynyr also informs me that according to the new CBA the Rangers are allowed to cut the award to one year no matter what the arbitrator rules.
According to Larry Brooks at the New York Post, Zuccarello filing for arbitration gives the Rangers a short second buyout window later this summer but amnesty buyouts are not permitted then.
…so basically, because the award will absolutely be less than $3.5 million per, Zuccarello will be a New York Ranger this fall. The only drama now are the terms. I can't imagine it ends up being more than two-years at $1.5 million per.
…with the Rangers void of many pure skill guys on the roster, the return of Zuccarello is a very important move for the Rangers.
…once this situation is finally completed, hopefully the Rangers can then spend their entire time attempting to re-sign Stepan. For those of you worried this has continued to drag on, just know that the money IS there to re-sign him and this is how Sather negotiates with RFAs without arbitration rights. He has the upper hand in negotiations and has every right to take advantage of it.