Mats Zuccarello

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Mats Zuccarello
Mats Zuccarello rangers 2011-02-13.JPG
Zuccarello with the Rangers, February 2011
Born (1987-09-01) September 1, 1987 (age 28)
Oslo, Norway
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight 161 lb (73 kg; 11 st 7 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
New York Rangers
Frisk Asker
Modo Hockey
Metallurg Magnitogorsk
National team  Norway
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 2004–present

Mats André Zuccarello Aasen (born September 1, 1987) is a Norwegian professional ice hockey winger currently playing for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Prior to joining the NHL, he played for Modo Hockey in the Swedish Elite League. In 2010, he won the Guldhjälmen (Golden Helmet), awarded annually to the most valuable player in the Swedish Hockey League.

Early life[edit]

Zuccarello grew up in the suburbs of Løren in Grorud Valley, Oslo. He is of Sicilian[1] and Norwegian ancestry.[2]

At the age of five, he began playing hockey in Hasle-Løren. After some years in Hasle-Løren, he started playing for Vålerenga, where he stayed until the end of lower secondary school. By that time, he had been scouted by Frisk Asker, which offered him a scholarship at the Norwegian College of Elite Sport, which he accepted.[3]

Playing career[edit]

Norway and Sweden[edit]

Zuccarello began playing full-time for Frisk in the GET-ligaen, Norway's premiere league, as an 18-year-old. He scored eight points over 21 games as a rookie in 2005–06. The following season, he improved to 59 points over 43 games, third in league scoring behind Jonas Solberg Andersen and Mathis Olimb. In 2007–08, Zuccarello helped the Tigers to the best regular season record in the league. Zuccarello finished third in league scoring a second consecutive season with 64 points, as he and Tigers teammates Chris Abbott, Cam Abbott and Marcus Eriksson ranked as the top four GET-ligaen scorers. Zuccarello added 27 points in 15 playoff games, as the Tigers advanced to the Finals, where they were defated in six games by the Storhamar Dragons.

After three seasons in the GET-ligaen, Zuccarello signed with Modo Hockey of the Elitserien, Sweden's premier league. In his first season with Modo, he ranked third in team scoring with 40 points in 35 games. The following season, he led the team with 23 goals. With a league-leading 64 points, he was awarded the Guldhjälmen as the league's most valuable player, as voted by Elitserien players.

New York Rangers[edit]

In the summer of 2010, Zuccarello was signed as a free agent by the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL) to a two-year, entry-level contract. He started the 2010–11 season with the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale, the Rangers' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, to adapt to the North American style of hockey and rink dimensions. On December 22, 2010, he was called up to the Rangers following an injury to right winger Marián Gáborík.[4] He made his NHL debut on December 23, 2010, against the Tampa Bay Lightning, becoming the seventh Norwegian player to play in the NHL, as well as the second undrafted one. Zuccarello logged 17 minutes and 52 seconds of ice time and registered two shots on goal in his NHL debut. As the game remained tied after overtime, Zuccarello scored in the shootout against Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis. The Rangers, however, lost the game 4–3. Though he was reassigned to the Whale immediately after the game,[5] the Rangers recalled him once more for their next game on December 27 against the New York Islanders.[6] He earned his first NHL assist during the contest,[7] tying defenceman Anders Myrvold for the Norwegian player with the fewest number of games played before recording an NHL point.[8] The Rangers won the game 7–2. Nine days later, in his sixth game, Zuccarello scored his first NHL goal against goaltender Cam Ward three minutes into overtime, leading the Rangers to a 2–1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.[9] On April 1, 2011 he was reassigned to Connecticut after playing 41 games for the Rangers.[10]

On April 13, 2011, Zuccarello became only the second Norwegian to take part in NHL post-season action when the Rangers lost 2–1 against the Washington Capitals.[11]

Metallurg Magnitogorsk[edit]

On June 1, 2012, Zuccarello confirmed that he had signed a two-year deal with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).[12] However, he returned to the NHL and the Rangers after the 2012–13 NHL lockout.

Return to Rangers[edit]

On March 28, 2013, Zuccarello agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the New York Rangers.[13] Zuccarello played in the last 15 games of the 2012–13 campaign, helping the Rangers reach the post-season. He played in all 12 Ranger playoff games, tallying his first playoff goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Washington Capitals.[14]

Zuccarello re-signed with the Rangers at the end of the 2012–13 season for another one-year deal, this time worth $1.15 million.[15] The 2013–14 season turned out to be a breakout season for Zuccarello. He tallied career highs in goals, assists and team-highs in points, as his contributions helped the Rangers reach the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, where they faced-off against the Los Angeles Kings. Although New York lost the series 4–1, Zuccarello made history by becoming the first Norwegian to ever participate in a Stanley Cup Final. His all-around game also took a step forward throughout the season, as he established himself as a hard worker with the ability to get under the skin of his opponents. His work was recognized by being awarded the 2013–14 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award.

On July 22, 2014, Zuccarello agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers worth $3.5 million.[16]

During the 2014–15 season, Zuccarello agreed to a four-year, $18 million contact worth $4.5 million annually that extends through to the 2018–19 season.[17] He finished fifth on the team in scoring, playing a large role with linemate Rick Nash, having the second-most goals in the NHL, as the Rangers won the Presidents' Trophy with the League's best regular season record.

International play[edit]

Zuccarello has represented Norway at the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Canada, the 2009 IIHF World Championship, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Germany.

Zuccarrello was forced to withdraw from the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia, however, due to a hand fracture.

Zuccarello also represented Norway at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Awards[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004–05 Frisk Tigers GET 1 0 0 0 0
2005–06 Frisk Tigers GET 21 5 3 8 12 4 0 0 0 2
2006–07 Frisk Tigers GET 43 34 25 59 36 7 4 4 8 2
2007–08 Frisk Tigers GET 33 24 40 64 48 15 12 15 27 24
2008–09 Modo Hockey SEL 35 12 28 40 38
2009–10 Modo Hockey SEL 55 23 41 64 62
2010–11 Connecticut Whale AHL 36 13 16 29 16 2 1 1 2 4
2010–11 New York Rangers NHL 42 6 17 23 4 1 0 0 0 2
2011–12 Connecticut Whale AHL 37 12 24 36 22
2011–12 New York Rangers NHL 10 2 1 3 6
2012–13 Metallurg Magnitogorsk KHL 44 11 17 28 30 7 2 2 4 10
2012–13 New York Rangers NHL 15 3 5 8 8 12 1 6 7 4
2013–14 New York Rangers NHL 77 19 40 59 32 25 5 8 13 20
2014–15 New York Rangers NHL 78 15 34 49 45 5 0 2 2 0
GET totals 98 63 68 131 96 26 16 19 35 28
SEL totals 90 35 69 104 100
NHL totals 222 45 97 142 95 43 6 16 22 26

International statistics[edit]

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
2004 Norway Jr. WJC U18 6 0 2 2 8
2005 Norway Jr. WJC U18 (D1) 5 2 3 5 6
2006 Norway Jr. WJC 6 0 2 2 4
2007 Norway Jr. WJC (D1) 5 2 5 7 2
2008 Norway WC 7 1 0 1 2
2009 Norway WC 6 3 0 3 8
2010 Norway Oly 4 1 2 3 2
2010 Norway WC 6 3 1 4 2
2014 Norway Oly 3 0 0 0 2
Junior totals 22 4 12 16 20
Senior totals 26 8 3 11 16

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Intervista all’italo norvegese Mats Zuccarello". ..:: HockeyTime ::.. Notizie dal mondo dell'hockey. 
  2. ^ Råve, Geir (February 6, 2008). "Färjestad sikler på Zuccarello Aasen". ABC Nyheter (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  3. ^ Fossheim, Kenneth (June 11, 2010). "Guttedrømmen går i oppfyllelse". Groruddalen (in Norwegian). Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ Cerny, J. (December 22, 2010). "Zuccarello getting first shot at NHL". New York Rangers. Retrieved December 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Zuccarello returned to Connecticut". New York Rangers. December 23, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Zuccarello returns to Rangers roster". New York Rangers. December 27, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2010. 
  7. ^ "NY Rangers 7, NY Islanders 2". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  8. ^ Olasveengen, F. "Norwegian NHL-records". NIHF. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  9. ^ Podell, I. (January 5, 2011). "Zuccarello’s OT goal lifts Rangers over Hurricanes". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  10. ^ "Zuccarello assigned to Whale". newyorkrangers.com. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  11. ^ Corey Masisak (April 14, 2011). "Semin's OT goal lifts Caps past Rangers, 2–1". nhl.com. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  12. ^ NRK. "«Zucca» forlater Rangers". NRK. 
  13. ^ "Looking for Offense, Rangers Bring Back Zuccarello". nytimes.com. 
  14. ^ "Washington Capitals routed by New York Rangers in Game 7 of 2013 NHL playoff series". Washington Post. 
  15. ^ "Rangers resign LW Zuccarello". Yahoo Sports. July 30, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Rangers, Zuccarello agree on one-year, $3.5m deal". TSN.ca. July 22, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Source: Rangers, Zuccarello agree - ESPN". go.com. 

External links[edit]