Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/30/13
Norwegian forward Mats Zuccarello has avoided his arbitration hearing scheduled for tomorrow morning by agreeing to a reported one-year deal worth $1.15 million with the Rangers. The 5-foot-7 Zuccarello who turns 26 on Sept. 1 was a restricted free agent for the second straight offseason. Last summer the Rangers did not re-sign him and he signed a KHL contract with Magnitogorsk Metallurg. However the right wing rejoined the Rangers for their post-lockout playoff push joining the team in late March for a one-year deal worth a pro-rated $700000 and he compiled three goals and five assists in 15 regular-season games and added one goal and six assists in 12 postseason games. The Rangers extended Zuccarello a qualifying offer of $735000. By Zuccarello agreeing to a deal the Rangers continue their streak of not going through the potentially acrimonious arbitration process since 2007 with Sean Avery. With Zuccarello’s signing the Rangers are left a little more than $2 million under the $64.3 million salary cap but still needing to re-sign restricted free agent center Derek Stepan. Unlike Zuccarello and Ryan McDonagh who earlier this offseason signed a six-year $28.2 million deal Stepan was not arbitration eligible. The Rangers unlike what they did with McDonagh are no doubt sticking to their organizational philosophy of offering a “bridge” contract probably two years since Stepan remains in their control after his entry-level deal expired.
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