With the game winner last night Mats Zuccarello now has five shootout goals in his six attempts. Combine that with his overtime winner against Carolina, and Zuccarello has almost single handedly gotten the Rangers six points in overtime alone this season. The Rangers fanbase and his followers back in Norway have known about his magic, but now others are starting to take note. Deadspin.com, which covers all sports and more, dedicated an article to Zuccarello today and included a video with all of his shootout goals, highlighting how effective he is using the same exact move every time. Nice to see that Zuke is getting the credit he deserves. He needs to find some consistency in his shooting but other than that he has surely surpassed everyone’s expectations of what he would bring upon his call-up against Tampa Bay in December. Keep reading to see some other notes for both the Rangers as well as the rest of the league:
Kris Newbury- Newbury was called up and was expected to take Wolski’s spot in the lineup after Tortorella claimed he wasn’t “willing to risk” Wolski calling it a night after only a few shifts. However, Wolski obviously did enough to convince Tortorella to change his mind. He played last night, and although he didn’t really do anything noteworthy, he played the full game and didn’t seem to be bothered too much. With that, the Rangers sent Kris Newbury back to Connecticut today.
Tomas Kaberle- The big news around the NHL today is going to be the trade that sends Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle to their division rivals Boston in exchange for center prospect Joe Colborne, a first round selection, and a conditional pick, which I assume the condition revolves around Kaberle resigning with the Bruins. A very good return for the Maple Leafs on a guy who has a No Trade Clause and is a UFA at the end of the year. I speculated earlier that the Rangers could be after Kaberle, and various sources agreed that Sather did have some interest. While it’s a good move for Boston, there is no way I would have wanted the Rangers to give up a similar package, which would have likely included Chris Kreider and our first round selection. With this move, I expect the dominos to start falling, as teams such as the Rangers will now turn to the other options out there such as Ian White, Filip Kuba, or Bryan McCabe.
Brian Elliott/Craig Anderson- The Senators and Avalanche also made an interesting move today, swapping goaltenders Brian Elliott and Craig Anderson straight up. This is the first one-for-one goaltender swap in the NHL since the Leafs and Bruins exchanged Tuukka Rask and Andrew Raycroft. Colorado is likely hoping to try to turn around Brian Elliott’s still young career and drop some salary, while Ottawa is probably looking for a change-of-scenery type of move and banking on catching lightning in a bottle with Anderson, who had two very good seasons prior to this disastrous one.
Paul Mara- Amidst an overflow of defensemen after acquiring Francois Beauchemin, the Anaheim Ducks traded former Rangers defenseman Paul Mara to the Canadiens for a 5th round pick. Mara played for the Habs last season and wasn’t particularly good. The Habs certainly were in need of a veteran presence on defense with both Markov and Gorges out for good, but it’s a bit curious that they’d resort to someone who already had a relatively unsuccessful stint with the team.
Boston/Atlanta- Boston is not even done making significant moves today. TSN’s Bob Mckenzie is reporting that the Bruins have shipped winger Blake Wheeler along with defenseman Mark Stuart to the Thrashers in exchange for center Rich Peverley and defenseman Boris Valabik. Blake Wheeler is a restricted free agent at the end of the year and would have to be offered a qualifying offer above two million, and Mark Stuart is a free agent at the end of the year and has been rendered unimportant with the addition of Kaberle. This trade seems to be motivated by the need to clear some cap space for next year as well as adding a center in Rich Peverley who is a decent enough replacement for Marc Savard. For Atlanta, they definitely have the higher potential for reward with this trade, as Wheeler is young and a capable secondary goal scorer while Mark Stuart, 26, is a clear-cut upgrade on Valabik.
Topics: Blake Wheeler, Boris Valabik, Boston Bruins, Brian Elliott, Craig Anderson, Injuries, Joe Colborne, Kris Newbury, Mark Stuart, Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers, Paul Mara, Rangers, Rich Peverley, Tomas Kaberle, Toronto Maple Leafs, Trades, Wojtek Wolski