3 Realistic Salary Cap Trades for Mats Zuccarello

The New York Rangers are nearing a contract extension with defenseman Marc Staal on a 6-year-deal. The Rangers have chosen to make the defenseman from Thunder Bay, Ontario their number one priority in regards to pending free agents. There is only so much money to go around in the salary cap era, and the Rangers are still near the salary cap ceiling.

With a huge raise in store for center Derek Stepan, the teams most valuable forward, a decision is going to have to be made by the trade deadline regarding the future of Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello has been very fair in regards to contract negotiations in the past, accepting 1-year deals, and it appears to be a stronger possibility with the new contract to Staal that the Rangers do not resign him this summer.

If the Rangers do not plan to resign Zuccarello then it is best to move him at the trade deadline for a player with a low salary cap hit that can help the team win hockey games. I will be the first to admit that my article suggesting sending Zuccarello to the Lightning was simply wishful thinking. It makes the most sense to make this trade with a Western Conference team so the Rangers are not helping any Eastern Conference rivals improve their roster. It’s a tough market out there, and there are three teams I believe the Rangers can reach a fair and salary-cap friendly deal for Zuccarello with. All three of these teams are contenders in the West and would give Zuccarello a chance to compete for a Stanley Cup. The three teams are the Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, and the Anaheim Ducks. Here are the three suggested deals.

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Norway’s best hockey player ever may be moved by New York at the trade deadline in a few months. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Mats Zuccarello for Andrew Shaw C/RW and a 1st round pick in 2015

Sure skill wise Zuccarello has Shaw beat by a mile, but Andrew Shaw would be a valuable third line center or wing for the Rangers. He will hit, fight, block shots, crash the net, get under the other team’s skin, and compete hard.

Shaw set a career high last year in goals with 20 for the Chicago Blackhawks. He is only 23- years- old and has plenty of playoff experience and a flair for the dramatic. It was Andrew Shaw who scored the overtime winner in 3OT during the epic Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.


He currently makes $1.5 million per year and is not due for a huge raise at the end of his contract. He is a cap-friendly option that would cost the Rangers less than $3 million per season for a gritty, hardworking player that has won a Stanley Cup. Could Mats Zuccarello be headed for the Windy City in a few months?

Mats Zuccarello for Colin Wilson C/LW

Colin Wilson is having his best season as a professional this year for the Nashville Predators. This trade is by far the most unlikely out of the three scenarios, but it was worth taking a look at. Wilson currently has 30 points and is a +22 this season.

He seems to be figuring things out at the NHL level for the Nashville Predators. The American from Greenwich, Connecticut is 25-years-old and is in the final year of his contract for Nashville. His current salary cap hit is $2.5 million and his name has come up in trade talks in the past.

Third-generation NHL player Colin Wilson got in on three straight goals Thursday (Photo by Dave Glad).
The Predators 7th overall pick in 2008 is 3rd in points on the Predators this season with 30 and has 8 3rd period goals which leads the team.  (Photo by Dave Glad).


Nashville could use a creative play-maker such as Zuccarello in their lineup. He would fit right into Peter Laviolette’s team and offensive system in a top 6  role, and maybe even on a line with James Neal. The 6’1, 216 lb Wilson, could bring size and skill to the Rangers lineup.

Mats Zuccarello for Kyle Palmieri RW and a 2nd round pick in 2015

This is the trade I like the most for both sides. Kyle Palmieri, while born in Smithtown, New York, grew up in Montvale, New Jersey as a New York Rangers fan. Palmieri spoke about how he became a Rangers fan back in the fall of 2013 when he scored the game-winning goal for the Ducks at the Garden in front of friends and family.

  “My dad was a Rangers fan and I kind of just took to them. I loved the atmosphere here after seeing my first game. I was a Rangers fan ever since,” said Palmieri.

The 23-year-old Palmieri is a player that would fit right into the Rangers lineup on the 2nd or 3rd line and would be a very good addition to the team. Palmieri carries a reasonable cap hit of $1.4 million. He has only played in 20 games this season, but has been very consistent with 8 goals and 5 assists.

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
Kyle Palmieri would be a great addition to  the New York Rangers. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)


Palmieri knows what it means to put on the Rangers sweater as part of an original-six franchise and would compete hard each night. Palmieri is an excellent skater and would add even more speed to an already fast team in the New York Rangers. He is playing in his 3rd season and has a lot of upside.

Palmieri was the Ducks 1st round pick (27th overall) in 2009. Mats Zuccarello could get an opportunity to play with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in Anaheim.

Article Quote- http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/li-product-kyle-palmieri-scores-winner-for-ducks-1.6380031

27 thoughts on “3 Realistic Salary Cap Trades for Mats Zuccarello”

  1. i think a trade into the west would be benificial to the rangers need give zuccs and moore to edmonton for the russian rocket and matt hendricks oilers will have first or second pick this year get a good defensemen there looking for and zuccs we russian on the third line move hayes up and fit hendricks with fourth line and get rid of the waste tanner

  2. Zucc does a lot of things on the ice that doesn’t show up at the G+A columns. He is often the first guy back home in defense of the Nash-Brassard-Zucc line. He is excellent at being an outlet for the defense, safely bringing the puck out of the zone or dropping it deep when he has to. His general stats 5vs5 are good. He sees the ice very well, often setting up defensemen arriving late on the rush for clean shots, shots they often miss unfortunately.

    Zucc draws a lot of penalties, he always has. This season he has also taken too many, often stupid ones, needs to cut down on that. He is a guy that would be among any teams top 3 players in shootout situations. He plays with great heart and tenacity, not afraid to go up against any top line or player in the league. Actually he relishes it. He is also very well liked character by all his teammates in the dressing room. There are no off-ice scandales with Zucc, he lives his lifes as a top pro, as he should.

    I believe all those small things add up to a pretty solid and very useful hockeyplayer. It is his UFA status, that mostly will count against him in a trade value evaluation.

  3. Please don’t trade Zuc. I understand he’s a UFA and Sather may entertain deals, but the guy is a tremendous player. Has the best vision on the team. Best passer, right up there with Stepan. I know they will want to keep St Louis for his experience and his scoring but he does little else but have a great shot when it’s tee’d up for him. He gets knocked off the puck so easily and does not have the moves he did as a kid. Keep ZUC! I would like to see an upgrade to some of the grit and toughness and like others said, you can trade Jon Moore and maybe JT Miller and get some quality in return that they will need for another Cup run.

  4. All these trade feel like they are from the rangers point of view and hurt the other teams.

    Preds won’t get rid of Wilson for obvious reasons.
    Hawks aren’t trading their cheap cap hit gritty bottom 6er for an ufa that won’t get a top 6 role and is far from a checking forward he’s supposed to replace. Especially not shipping a 1st with him.
    Ducks is the closest to realistic, but again, why would the Ducks trade a bottom 6er on a cheap contract for an ufa that won’t get a top 6 role and is far from a checking forward? Definitely not with a draft pick.

    These make half sense for the rangers, but these make no sense for the other teams.

  5. Mark- Explain to me why Zuccarello for Palmieri is a “dreamland” just curious to see your opinion. Palmieri was rumored to be traded in Anaheim last season right up until the day of the trade deadline. As I said they have young talented wingers and players that can play a similar style. They also have RW Jakob Silfverberg, the highly talented Swede on their 3rd line who Anaheim traded for from the Sens along with a 1st rounder in 2014 for Bobby Ryan. If you think they don’t have top 6 plans for Silfverberg you are wrong. What they don’t have is a play-maker to complement Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on their 1st.

  6. This writer is in dreamland, there is no chance any of his proposed trades will ever be realized. As a Rangers fan I wish one of them would be though, any of them would be a good deal for the Rangers.

  7. Also I realize St. Louis is about 12 years older than Zuccarello, but I think he is more of a priority to resign than Zuccarello. St. Louis just moved his family to the NY area full time, he is not going anywhere. The guy is a freak of nature and can play hockey until he’s 45 if he wanted to and do it at a high level. I would choose MSL over Zuc.

    Another thing, Rangers fans are 50/50 from what I see about Carl Hagelin. I would keep him over Zuc as well because Hagelin will be a cheaper option. I understand he should score more goals, but he is a valuable penalty killer and energy player. The Rangers are possibly the fastest team in the NHL and Hagelin is a part of that. He was pretty good the last two playoffs also.

  8. Jess- I’m going to have to disagree, I think Colin Wilson for Mats Zuccarello would be a huge win for the Rangers. Wilson plays 2nd line on the Preds and has been in trade talks in the past. His production offensively has been great the last month as he is riding the best hot streak of his career. Also if you check the Predators roster, Colin Wilson can play center as well. The Predators have about 9 or 10 listed centers on their roster which is completely unheard of. Wilson would add size to the team on the 2nd line wing or 3rd line center and plays a two-way game, very responsible in his own end. It might be possible that the Preds sell high with him and try to bring in a unique player in Zuccarello that they lack in their lineup and could help them win a Stanley Cup this season. The Preds are full of gritty-two way forwards and could use another highly skilled player to complement James Neal on their 2nd line. The Rangers, as you know, have no cap space to sign Zuccarello. They are going to spend their money on Stepan and Martin St. Louis in the off-season. They simply can’t let him walk and not get anything in return for him. Also the Rangers options are highly limited because of the salary cap. If they could have fit this player under their cap, I think a perfect fit for the Rangers would be Jarome Iginla, however his $5 million cap hit is too much. Also Anthony Duclair can step right in next season into Zuccarello’s spot on the 2nd line or a cheaper option via free agency. Also I believe Palmieri for Zuccarello is a win for both teams. Ducks finally get a playmaker to play with Getzlaf and Perry. They have experimented Dany Heatley and Patrick Maroon with Getzlaf and Perry and have still not found a solid player to play on their 1st line. The Ducks have a ton of wingers that play a game similar to Palmieri. The Rangers would get back a player who would add speed to the 2nd line and some more size then Zuc. It’s a win for both teams.

  9. People must be blind. Zucarello is awesome little player. Very talented playmaker. He has hit a lot of posts this year. He should have at least five more goals right now. I think this guy wrote an article expressing the same sentiments a few weeks ago. I can think of a lot of other players id rather unload than zuccs staal being the one of them for real. I mean seriously why would this even be considered this little guy is like the heart of the team at times. If im the GM i will be placing a ton of value on this guy. Cant believe this is being discussed again. I love this guy as a player for the Rangers

  10. Realistic trade proposals you say? Maybe you know how to win your Yahoo fantasy hockey league but you clearly demonstrate a total lack of how to make a legit NHL trade. So who replaces Zuccarello with Brassard and Nash?
    None of those you mention have Zuccarello’s playmaking ability so oh heck lets screw up the team by destroying a line that has solid chemistry?
    No what you did here is make the always so typical mistake of inflating the value of the player you wish to trade and deflating the value of the player you think the other team will just hand over.
    Why in the world would the Ducks give up a very promising player for what could be a rental? Who in their right mind gives you a first round pick and a player because you want one?

    When making a trade both teams are supposed to walk away thinking they improved their team. In your first two trades the Rangers lose (why yes they need yet another 3rd liner) and in the third the Ducks lose.

    Please if you ever want to be taken seriously when it comes these kinds of articles think first about why they other team would accept you deal.

  11. Chris- Palmieri is not a better hockey player than Mats Zuccarello, that’s the trade that has the best chance out of the three. Anaheim adds skill and the Rangers add a bigger wing with speed that has potential instead of Zuc leaving in summer

  12. Also think there’s a very good chance that Zucc is moved at or before the trade deadline. I don’t see how the Rangers are going to be able to afford him for next year’s team. That said I don’t think these proposed deals are all that realistic. Wilson is not going to give us that much more cap space. He’s probably a $3.5-4 mil range for his next contract. Not enough cost control.

    Shaw and a first?–really. All I can say is I wish. Maybe one or the other except the Blackhawks have cap issues as well. I don’t see them moving Shaw. So for their first?–which will be a late 1st. I’d like a little more.

    So Palmieri and a 2nd. I could see Zucc straight up for Palmieri or maybe Anaheim putting up a little more but Palmieri and a 2nd seems a bit high.

  13. No way the Rangers should trade Zuc, trade Staal first, Zuc is very talented, creative and plays his heart out . He is obviously is under appreciated by those who have not seen much of him, and saying he is unproven shows a real lack of hockey sense.

  14. This is just a horrible article. Mza has had ONE good year. Chicago isn’t trading one of their grit guys who is better around the net, for a smaller skill winger. Mza is a rental and shaw is under contract beyond this year with a very favorable cap hit for a depth 20 goal scorer. Mza isn’t worth shaw straight up right now given their contract status and type of player they each are, let alone the first on top. No team would even give up a 1st straight up for mza.

    Mza on pace for 45 pts this year. As a rental he’s with a 2nd and a decent prospect at best

  15. I think Hunwick or John Moore should be part of an upgrade package. We don’t need both. I’d like to address two needs face offs and toughness. Like Paul Stasny, Martin Hanzal, Boyd Gordon or Even a Malholtra if they can’t do something big. Toughness Matt Hendricks could be cheap.

  16. I really hope the trade Zuc not Hagelin. Hags is a known, you know he will give you 15 goals (or thereabouts) every year. He will be very good as a defensive forward, and he’s a great penalty killer. Zuc is redundant (to Stepan and Brassard) but plays a less valuable position in LW and has already peaked offensively. He put up so many points last year because he never faced other teams top lines or defensive pairs. Also, for some reason he gets used on the PK but is constantly out of position out there, rarely remember his job to to cover the points. He’s going to be looking for +5 million but is really a 3-3.5 million player.

  17. If you think the Hawks are going to give up Shaw and a first round pick for Zucc, you are out of your mind. They wouldnt even give up the first round pick, much less an important centerman on their team. Honestly I dont buy into any of these “potential trades”. Though I do see Zucc moved, it probably would be for high return value. He still hasnt really proven himself, and he’s due for free agency in which he’s going to want more money than he’s shown he’s worth.

  18. Any of these deals would be very solid returns for the NYR. That said, I think that they would look to move Carl Hagelin instead of Zuccarello. I’m sure they wish they could keep both, but of the two, Zucc is slightly more valuable.

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