Sometimes good things come in small packages. Such is the case with Mats Zuccarello. Standing only 5’7”, Zuccarello played a big part in the New York Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. Now he is back in the fold for one more year.
The Rangers agreed to terms with Zuccarello on Tuesday, signing the forward to a one-year contract worth $3.5 million.
With 59 points in 77 games, the 27-year-old Zuccarello led the Rangers in scoring last season. He also added 13 points in 25 playoff games. Undrafted, Zuccarello joined the Rangers as a free agent in 2010. In 144 career games for the Blueshirts, he has 30 goals and 93 points.
Zuccarello is also a key member of the Norwegian National team. In fact, he was the only NHL player on their 2014 Olympic Roster. Sadly, he broke his hand in preliminary round play and missed the rest of the tournament. He also played on Norway’s Olympic team in 2010.
By agreeing to the contact, the Rangers were able to avoid arbitration with Zuccarello. A hearing had been scheduled for July 25. The team still does have two players that are heading to arbitration as of now; with Chris Kreider having a hearing scheduled for July 23, and Derick Brassard scheduled for July 28.
Zuccarello is not the only forward the Blueshirts have signed in recent days. On Saturday, they signed veteran Lee Stempniak to a one-year deal reportedly worth $900,000. In 73 games split between the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins last season, Stempniak scored 12 goals and 34 points. He added three points in 13 playoff games for the Pens. He will be joining Penguins teammate Tanner Glass in the Big Apple, as the Rangers signed Glass to a three-year deal on July 1.