Zuccarello has 12 goals and 35 points in 58 games this season and can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In a similar situation last season, the Rangers traded captain Ryan Callahan at the deadline to the Tampa Bay Lightning rather than risk him leaving as a free agent after the season.
“I got a game today,” Zuccarello said Saturday after the Rangers’ morning skate at Wells Fargo Center prior to their game against the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET; NBC, City). “That’s all I’m focusing on. That’s the only thing I can control. … Try not to think about it. Work hard tonight and do whatever I can to win hockey games, that’s my focus. This is my team.”
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault understands the business of hockey, but if he had his way Zuccarello wouldn’t be going anywhere.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, and I’ve made this very clear, that I’m a big Mats fan,” Vigneault said. “That being said, history since I’ve been here in this organization would dictate that if [general manager] Glen [Sather] doesn’t think he’s getting a deal that can satisfy both the organization and the player, he won’t hesitate to move anybody. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that both the player and the organization can come to an agreement.”
ESPN.com was among the outlets reporting Saturday that the Rangers were making Zuccarello available in a trade.
“That’s the business part of it, I can’t do anything about it,” Vigneault said. “I would say that if somebody thinks that Glen is bluffing they should know that he traded his captain last year a couple minutes before the deadline. Got to be something he thinks is fair.”
Article source: http://www.nhl.com/ice/blogpost.htm?id=37508