Opinion: Wanting Zuccarello Back on Broadway

There is no doubt that the New York Rangers are rolling in every sense of the word right now.

They are getting timely goal-scoring, playing more than solid defensively, and getting great goaltending from both Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick. When you put all of these things together, it is very easy to see why they are one of the best teams in the league right now.

When you look at everything mentioned above, it would be easy to say and think that one would not want to change the roster. This team’s lineup has been terrific and under head coach Peter Laviolette, they are playing a brand of hockey that leads to a lot of wins.

With all of that said, however, there will always be one player in my eyes that I would welcome on this team in a heartbeat. That player is Mats Zuccarello.

Zuccarello, 36, is currently a member of the Minnesota Wild and has been for the last four seasons. In fact, he signed a two-year, $8.25 million contract extension back in late September to remain with the club as he has played extremely well there.

That is where I will start. One of the reasons why I would love to see Zuccarello back with the Blueshirts is because he can still produce.

Here is what he has done with the Wild in his four seasons with the club:

– 2019-20: 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points in 65 games
– 2020-21: 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points in 42 games
– 2021-22: 24 goals and 55 assists for 79 points in 70 games
– 2022-23: 22 goals and 45 assists for 67 points in 78 games

Clearly, Zuccarello can still put up points. He is off to a solid start this season as well as he currently has 21 points on five goals and 16 assists in 19 games.

Secondly, he is a player who is a key contributor with the man advantage. In the last two seasons, he scored 28 and 29 points, respectively, on the power play.

If you are a Rangers fan, then you know that he was the same way on Broadway. Could you imagine what damage he could do with the man advantage playing with the likes of Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, and Adam Fox?

Lastly, he would have no trouble readjusting if he were to ever be traded to the Rangers. This is a player who spent the first nine and a half years on Broadway with the Blueshirts and had a lot of success.

The fans would go absolutely bonkers and make him feel more than comfortable if he were to ever return. Heck, even nowadays, at Madison Square Garden, there are still many fans who wear his jerseys proudly.

This is obviously all hypothetical. The Rangers have a great roster right now and there is a lot of hockey left to be played before the trade deadline.

With that said, it is certainly a nice thing to dream about if you are a Ranger fan, isn’t it? 

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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