Negotiations are always a volatile thing. They’re liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, mostly for the worse. And contract talks with Mats Zuccarello have been no different.
First was Glen Sather downplaying the diminutive winger’s contributions to the team during an impromptu draft day press conference in which he pointed out that Zuccarello has really had only one good season with the Rangers.
Then, just two days ago we were ready to stitch a letter to Zuccarello’s jersey after hearing that he’d be willing to take less in his next contract to keep the Rangers competitive. Unfortunately, that euphoria was quick lived when we learned Zuccarello’s meaning of “less” is a four-year, $20 million deal (also reported here).
Now, the next act of this soap opera is a report from Pat Leonard of the Daily News on Zuccarello’s agent being cognizant of the Rangers cap restraints…
“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.”
…getting caught up in the day-to-day minutia of contract negotiations is neither good for my blood pressure nor my liquor cabinet supply. We (especially me) need to remember that both sides are going to use the media to their advantage to curry favor with the fans and try not to get too emotional about it.
…as far as the $5 million per number being thrown around, it’s probably close to Zuccarello’s market value right now, but he needs to remember that he’s an RFA, so there’s not a bargaining war for his services and will ultimately get less. Although, if this thing goes to arbitration and Zuccarello only gets a one year deal, the Rangers will be kicking themselves for not agreeing on something close to the current offer because he’ll be worth a lot more on the open market next summer.