The New York Rangers have sent Mats Zuccarello down to the Connecticut Whale. Zuccarello joined the team in December after the Rangers were the victims of multiple injuries, and after performing well enough in what was supposed to be a one game stint, Zuccarello earned a spot on the roster for the time being. Zuccarello certainly stepped up offensively during a time when the Rangers’ roster was barren because of the multiple injuries, and has scored some key goals for the Rangers in the shootout and in overtime.
This demotion is not reflecting of his play, really. Zuccarello hasn’t been great, but especially now that the Rangers are more or less fully healthy, there simply aren’t enough minutes up here for him. As opposed to earlier in the year, when he was consistently getting 16-19 minutes of icetime, he’s been reduced to 10-12 minutes. Though no comments have been made by Tortorella or Sather or anyone else, It’s pretty easy to infer that the Rangers simply would rather give him top line minutes in the AHL. 22 points in 41 games is certainly plenty to be happy about, especially considering it’s his first season in North America, and Zuccarello showed that he WILL be an impact player in the NHL. For right now, though, perhaps it’s best that Zuccarello gets the ice-time he needs to develop. Apologies to our friends in Norway.
Really, Zuccarello’s first 41 games in the NHL were successful, he has plenty to be proud of. Let’s look at his best moment: one of my favorite games that I’ve witnessed in person.