New York Rangers: Rangers have an ideal trade partner for Mats Zuccarello in the Oilers

Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Sending Mats Zuccarello to the Edmonton Oilers is the right move to continue to New York Rangers rebuild.

With less than three weeks to go before the NHL trade deadline on February 25, New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton needs to move out some vets, especially Mats Zuccarello.

Thankfully, the Edmonton Oilers are a solid fit for not only the ‘Norwegian Hobbit’ but other players as well.

It’s time for Gorton to take the Rangers’ rebuild to the next level.

Related Story. Nico Hischier emerging as a true leader over in New Jersey. light

Why the Oilers?

The Oilers are desperate to make the playoffs this season. They have made one postseason appearance (2016-17) since 2006. Their fans are getting restless. Head Coach Ken Hitchcock was brought in earlier this season to take Edmonton to the playoffs.

Currently, they sit just three points south of the final wildcard spot and five points north of the Western Conference cellar.

That isn’t acceptable for a team with arguably the best young, if not the best overall player on Earth, Connor McDavid. Jesus had his Apostles, so ‘McJesus’ needs some scoring help.

Mats Zuccarello is that help. Zuccarello is the closer Edmonton needs.

Picture a top line of Leon Draisaitl, McDavid, and Zuccarello. They would be lethal. It’s a top unit that can compete with any line in the west especially Calgary, and San Jose.

Another benefit to the Oilers in acquiring Zuccarello is that he’s the successful veteran forward they have been lacking. It’s not a criticism of the team’s current leadership, rather an enhancement to it.

Also, there could be more moving parts in this trade that benefits both teams.

Why not move defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in the deal while the New York Rangers are at it?

He has a modified no-trade clause, but he’d be nuts to turn down a chance to play with the talented forwards in Edmonton. The Rangers might have to eat some salary on his contract and/or take back some less than flattering players.

The hometown hero Shattenkirk experience is turning out to be a losing proposition for the Blueshirts. He wouldn’t be the first good player to come up short under the bright lights and scrutiny of New York. A move to a smaller market could reinvigorate his career.

What’s in it for the New York Rangers?

It’s been discussed ad nauseum how high of a draft pick Zuccarello is worth. In this case, none.

It’s fair to say former fifth overall pick

Jesse Puljujarvi

has not lived up to the expectations of his draft status. Rather than getting a second or third round pick back, Gorton can take a “flyer” on some undeveloped potential.

Hitchcock is a veterans coach to be straight forward. He’s not known to have much patience with the younger guys. A productive veteran like Zuccarello is his kind of player. Giving up Puljujarvi would be a move Hitchcock would be more than okay with.

As mentioned above, if the Rangers can get out from under the Shattenkirk contract in this deal, they are going to have to take back a bad contract (or two).

Edmonton will want to send Milan Lucic back, but that isn’t happening. More likely Kris Russell and his $4M per season cap hit through 2021 is a better option for Gorton.

For lack of a better term, the Rangers may get force fed Ryan Spooner back as well.

In this scenario, the New York Rangers get a good return for an honored veteran. Additionally, they clear an albatross contract. While Edmonton gets a veteran scorer and a defenseman that can run a power play.

Generally, I’m not one to throw out idle speculation.

dark. Next. Why Rangers fans need to appreciate Henrik Lundqvist no matter what

This is a deal that works for both teams. Of course, there may be other considerations. Some money could change hands or draft picks exchanged, but the framework is a win-win for both sides.