The return of the Hobbit?
The wheels are in motion by the New York Rangers to bring Mats Zuccarello, who has been playing in the KHL this season, back to the NHL.
Despite playing in the KHL, Zuccarello has a clause in his contract with the Russian league to allow him to return to the NHL without penalty. The Rangers retain Zuccarello’s NHL rights.
According to Andrew Gross of The Bergen Record, Rangers General Manager Glen Sather has already initiated talks with Zuccarello’s agent to return the Broadway.
“We have already talked to Glen about it,” agent Don Meehan said in an e-mail to The Record, referring to Sather. “We will wait to hear from him.”
Zuccarello had 11 goals and 17 assists in 44 games in his first KHL season. He is considered an NHL restricted free agent so the Rangers would not have to pass him through waivers to add him to their roster.
While Zuccarello’s NHL stint with the Rangers consists of only 52 games from 2010-2012, he remains a fan favorite. He has eight goals and 18 assists, and played two games with the Rangers late last season before suffering a season-ending wrist injury. He spent the majority of last season with the Connecticut Whale scoring 12 goals and 24 assists. He eventually signed a contract with the KHL in the summer.