Everything Else

According to all the latest gossip the Hawks think they’ve solved their blue-line issues with the Maata and de Haan signings…no really, they think that! This leaves us with forwards to noodle on as free agency approaches, and while we’re not actually convinced they’ll bring Zuccarello here, at this point, why not go through the thought exercise for shits and giggles? And you may be wondering what the pumpkin image could possibly have to do with him—well, in Italian “zuccarello” means “little pumpkin guy.” No shit, it does. See, you learn something new every day!

Physical Stats

Height: 5’8″ Weight: 185

Age: 31 Shot: Left

On-Ice Stats (2018-19)

Team: Stars Position: LW

48 GP – 12 G – 28 A – 40 pts – 24 PIM

49.1 CF% (3.8 CF% Rel) – 52 xGF (5.6 xGF% Rel) – 48.9 oZS%

Why the Hawks Should Sign Him

Mats Zuccarello could be a legit top-six winger, and if the Hawks can get him off a division foe’s roster, so much the better. Last year was obviously a weird one for him—he was at nearly a point-per-game pace with the Rangers but just when he was traded to the Stars he had a rather freak injury against—who else—the Hawks, and didn’t return until the playoffs. But when he did, he led the Stars in points with 11 in 13 games.

All of this is to say that Zuccarello might come a bit cheaper thanks to the broken arm but he’s also a reliable playmaker. Put him with Toews and Sikura and he may help Dylan finally pop his goal cherry. If CCYP keeps Toews and Kane together, throw Zuccarello on the left side—it’d be a top-heavy situation and personally I want to see Kane with Top Cat and Dylan Strome, but the point is that Zuccarello could be a quality contributor on the top six. And they may be able to get him for under 6 mildo. He understandably wants a payday, and his playoff run will undoubtedly help, but with the Stars dithering and his time missed last year because of injury, the Hawks might just be able to finagle, say, 5.25 and get away with it.

Why the Hawks Shouldn’t Sign Him

Zuccarello is already north of 30 and will be looking for a big contract. Even if it’s a relative bargain, i.e., not above $6 million, if he wants five years or more that should be a deal-breaker for the Hawks. We have plenty of aging stars signed for long deals already, thank you.

And while he had a good playoff run and scored 37 points in 46 games with the Rangers last year, he’s never put up more than 61 (and that only once) and he averages about 15 goals a year. Erik Gustafsson had more than that last season, for christ’s sake. The last thing the Hawks need is to overpay yet another aging forward who just ends up in the flotsam of the bottom six.

Verdict

Mats Zuccarello would not do significant damage to the Hawks, provided they don’t sign him to some dumbass, 8-year, 6.5 mildo contract. On the cheap he would be a proven playmaker who could improve the scoring of those around him, play top minutes, and be on the power play. I’d certainly rather have Zuccarello on the second unit than Artem Anisimov. But again, overpaying a guy on the downswing is not what the Hawks need. It’d be risky but that’s never stopped them before.

Everything Else

Beth Boyle Machlan has been our Rangers correspondent for a while now. Follow her @bethmachlan.

The Rangers are at the base of a rebuild, one which some Hawks fans wish they could or would do. On the current roster, who are players that will be around when the Rangers are ready to matter again?

Who will be around? IDEFK. Marc Staal. Marc Staal will be around forever.

You must get this question a lot, but Henrik Lundqvist: not a great year for the second season in a row, and two more years to go on a deal and he’s 36. We know he has no interest in being traded. Is he just going to finish out this contract, seeing as how it’s unlikely the Rangers are going to be competitive anyway?

I really don’t see Lundqvist leaving. I think he’s going down with the ship. As for “not a great year” … in his defense (LOL), he has no defense. I mean, none. They bleed shots. He’s had some amazing games, and some terrible ones — he’s never in between. I would love to know what’s going on in his head right now about what all this means for his career, but he seems to have chosen loyalty over personal fame. I blame Alain Vigneault, but then I blame him for pretty much everything.

We know that under Alain Vigneault, some fans chafed at the under-use of Pavel Buchnevich. Does his 13 points so far make the case that maybe he wasn’t?

Ah, Pasha. Yes, AV deployed Buchnevich really poorly. But then, Buch is sort of the princess and the pea of hockey players. He really needs everything to be aligned in order to produce, but when he does, he does, and it’s really not rocket science to figure out what he needs, like a spot on PP1 (2 goals vs. Carolina on Tuesday, oh hey look at that, why is this hard?).

How much are the Rangers going to try and get rid of before the trade deadline?

Before the deadline? Depends on who comes calling. I’m thinking Zucc (sob). Maybe Kreider? Hayes is sitting in an airport somewhere just waiting to be told what flight to take. And y’all were right about Brendan Smith; I admit it. Someone take him and I’ll throw in Adam McQuaid, too.

 

Game #49 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Beth Machlan writes in more places than we can possibly list. Follow her @bethmachlan and find out for yourself. 

It’s obviously going to be a long year on Broadway for the Rangers who are in the first full season of a total rebuild. Who are what are you watching on a nightly basis to make you feel good about the future?
Frankly, we’re watching David Quinn. For one: he coaches. You can hear him screaming through the broadcast. He’s used more timeouts in the last four weeks than Vigneault did in his whole time here. This is new For Rangers fans, who are used to AV, who was Sphinx-like in his silence, if Sphinxes were stupid and wasted the careers of two Hall of Fame goaltenders. Quinn tells the players what’s expected of them, and he tells the press what he’s doing. It’s a whole new world. He also apparently takes the babies, Chytil and Howden, out to breakfast on game days. THANKS DAD!
Speaking of which, Filip Chytil and Brett Howden are a lot of fun to watch, and they give us dreams of an actual future …
Chris Kreider is off to a hot start. it feels like trade rumors swirl about him every season, but is this the time he goes? He’s only got this year and next on his deal and is in the middle of his prime at 27…
 
I don’t see Kreider going. The Blueshirt Banter chat votes Hayes. Seriously, though, every season the NYR broadcast team announces that it’s Kreider’s year. He was great last season but then had that major surgery; he also has nights when he’s invisible, which is pretty impressive for a guy who’s 6’3”  and 220. Still, I hope we keep him. He and Mika Zibanejad and whoever they stick on the RW — Zuccarello, earlier this week, with great results — are among our few consolations this season.
Neal Pionk seems to be turning some heads. 
 
Right? Imagine how many he’d turn if he wasn’t stapled to Marc Staal.
Confirm what we’ve always claimed: Brendan Smith is the worst player in the league, right?
 
Did I mention Marc Staal?
 
Dude. Smith has made a hell of a comeback, really. He was a major casualty of AV’s coaching style — “I won’t tell you what I want, but I’ll bench you until you give it to me” — as well as who the hell knows what going on in his personal life — but it’s past now. He now looks like a second pair defenseman (for NYR, anyway) as opposed to just a pile of cash lit on fire. I also appreciate scrappiness that actually responds to circumstances on the ice as opposed to the fans’ “old timey” desires.
Are Rangers fans, a notoriously cantankerous bunch as any group of New Yorkers tend to be, really understanding of what’s happening here and how long it will take?
 
No. But then Hank announced that they’re playing to win, so who are we to judge?

 

Game #10 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

 vs 

Game Time: 7:30PM CST
TV/Radio: CSN, NHLN (US), WGN-AM 720
Buggin Out: Blueshirt Banter

While this is supposed to a premiere matchup on the league’s calendar as far as regular season games in December go, and on paper it still is with one conference leader hosting the 2nd best of the other on a weekend night, the actual composition of the rosters on both sides still lacks the punch that it should have, no matter how many times the words “potential matchup in June” are uttered during the broadcast.

Everything Else

oldschool at RangerSmith

Game Time: 6:00PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, NHLN (US), WGN-AM 720
Without MSG I Am Nothing: Blueshirt Banter, Scotty Hockey

Now that the international nightmare known as the Sochi Olympics is finally over, the NHL can get back to business as usual. With 22 games left, the Hawks will start their final quarter of the season tonight in Manhattan at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.