Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Player Profile: Mats Zuccarello

Norway qualified for the 2014 Sochi Olympics despite only having one NHL player on their roster. That player is New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello.

Zuccarello, affectionately known as “Frodo”, is having a break out year with the Rangers this year. He is tied for the team lead in goals with 11 and is second on the team in points with 33 so far this year, trailing only veteran Brad Richards.

Zuccarello may be small, listed as 5’7″ 179 lbs, but his game is big. He plays with the edge of a much larger player, has good vision on the ice, is deceptively fast, and, despite his goal scoring record (which has him scoring on 11% of his shots so far) is a pass-first type of player.

The problem for Zuccarello in the Olympics will be that he is the most talented player on his team, which at the international level will prove to be a too much. He is more than serviceable on the NHL level, but he is not asked to carry his team at MSG, he will be the best player for Norway and he will likely be suffocated by the opposition as he is keyed upon during the tournament. I do not see the Norwegian team advancing far in Russia, but it will give Zuccarello the chance to be the man on a team playing in an elite competition, and also give the Rangers a chance to see one of their secondary players perform in a primary role against high quality opponents so it could prove beneficial for both parties.

Tags: Mats Zuccarello New York Rangers

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