New York Rangers get good return in Zuccarello to Dallas deal

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

Pending unrestricted free agent Mats Zuccarello was traded by the New York Rangers to Dallas on Saturday for two conditional draft picks.

The New York Rangers front office brass put in some extra hours at the office on Saturday night. Fan favorite Mats Zuccarello was sent to the Dallas Stars in exchange for two conditional draft picks. This trade marks the end of Zucc’s nine-year run on Broadway.

Mats Zuccarello-Aasen started his professional career as an 18-year-old in his home country of Norway. After three successful seasons there, MZA moved over to the Swedish Elite League (SEL) with Modo. His first season at Modo he led his team in goals. That was followed up by an SEL scoring title the next.

Known as the Norwegian Hobbit, he was making a name for himself as an international star and a pending free agent in 2010. What really put him over the top with NHL scouts was his breakout performance at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. He played four games for an over-matched Norwegian squad and scored three points in four games.

Rangers Tenure

The Rangers signed Zuccarello later that year and he dropped the “Aasen” from his last name. It took a few seasons for him to stick as an NHL player, but once he did he endeared himself to the team and their fans.

2013-14 was the season he established him as a bonafide NHL player. His 19 goals and 40 assists led the Blue Shirts in scoring. He put up 13 more points in the post-season as the Rangers made it all the way to the Finals before losing to Los Angeles in five games.

Zuccarello would go on to lead the Rangers in scoring three more times. Additionally, he won the team’s annual Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award three teams. His New York Rangers totals are 113 goals, 239 assists and 215 penalty minutes in 509 regular season games. He also played in 60 playoff games where he scored 11 goals and 20 assists.

The Trade and Impact

This was a great trade by Rangers GM Jeff Gorton. Zuccarello is in the final months of a four-year, $18M contract he signed during the 2014-15 season. In a rebuilding mode, the Blue Shirts are unlikely to re-sign the 31-year-old Norwegian star going forward.

In return for Zucc, New York received a pair of conditional draft-picks from the Dallas Stars. The first is a 2019 second round pick, which upgrades to a first if Dallas reaches the Western Conference finals. The second is a 2020 third-rounder, which gets upgraded to a first should the Stars re-sign him.

It was speculated that the best Gorton would be able to expect for the pending free agent was a second round pick. It’s a big win for him and his staff to get as much as they did. A pair of good draft picks will help the team during the rebuild.

Next. Rangers recall Lias Anderson, more trades likely. dark

Still, on the Rangers trade block are Kevin Hayes and Adam McQuaid.