What to Expect from Mats Zuccarello next season
Mats Zuccarello, the New York Rangers leader in points for the second consecutive season, will be pivotal to the Rangers success this season. Redundant I’ll admit, however, the fan favorite is such a huge contributor that the team will need him to step up even more.
Zuccarello’s best production came in 2015-16 when he tallied 61 points. Last season he tallied 59 points to lead the team for the second consecutive season. Before expectations can be defined, the stats should be looked into deeper.
Last season, the team had seven players finish with 40 or more points and rookie defenseman Brady Skjei finished with 39. The Blueshirts typically find themselves playing as a team. While there rarely is one player outshining the others, the unit as a whole sees success.
Losing a facilitator like Derek Stepan, who led the team in power play points (18), means that Zuccarello must elevate his game. Generally speaking, the team is filled with “pass-first” players, Zuccarello being one of them. As a player with grit and skill, he needs to have a career year this season.
The Power Lies Within
In order for Mats Zuccarello to have a career year, the power play must improve. 45 of his 59 points last season came at even strength. Zuccarello has to pitch in and rack up more man advantage points, and the team itself has to be better in this department as well.
Should the power play improve, and all signs point to that being the case, then Zuccarello and fans can expect a range of 55-65 points, the majority of points coming from assists. Zucc is someone that can absolutely change the momentum of a game with electrifying plays and jaw dropping passes.
Arguably the heart and soul of the team, no. 36 will play a big role as the first line right winger. His speed and skating ability create space and also helps get the cycle going in the offensive zone. Seldom a guy to see the overall praise, Zuccarello is the type of player that makes his teammates better both on the ice and on paper. Even Sauron can see a year of great passes and timely goals from the Hobbit.