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Rangers re-sign Zuccarello, trade Lee Stempniak, and acquire James Sheppard

Bobby Bevilacqua

zuccarello first star 2-2

Mats Zuccarello will be a Ranger for the next four years, with the Rangers locking up one of their key playmaking wingers. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers extremely bust trade deadline day seems to have come to an end, with Glen Sather locking down Mats Zuccarello for the next four years, and making some minor adjustments to the rest of the lineup.

The biggest news, outside of the Keith Yandle trade earlier, was the extension of Mats Zuccarello to a four year, $18 million deal, paying him an average of $4.5 million a year.

Although Zuccarello, is not producing like he was last season, he has been playing very well lately, bringing his point total to 35 (12-23-35) this season. Zuccarello has built tremendous chemistry with Derick Brassard, and is one of the best playmakers on the team, with great vision and a knack for finding the open man.

Many people often forget that Zuccarello is only 27 years old, and has just one full season under his belt, and has plenty of potential to grow under Alain Vigneault. Zuccarello was asking for over $5 million, but it was nice to see him lower his demands and take a deal that works for both sides.

With the contract talks finished, that is one less distraction for Zuccarello, and now he can focus solely on producing and helping the team win.

In another trade nobody saw coming, the Rangers sent veteran two-way forward Lee Stempniak to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Carl Kilngberg. This cleared $900,000 of cap space so Sather could make one more move. Klingberg will likely report to the AHL, where his salary won’t count against the cap. The 6’3, 205 pound forward has 15 goals and 15 assists in 51 AHL games this season.

The final move for the Rangers on trade day was acquiring James Sheppard from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for the Rangers 2016 fourth round draft pick.

Sheppard is a bottom six forward who can win faceoffs (50% this season) and kill penalties, always nice attributes in a player. While he is primarily a center, it seems as if that is not where he plays best, perhaps more suited to the winger role. Sheppard, 6-1 and 215 pounds, adds size, some toughness, and scoring to the bottom line, with five goals and six assists this season.

James Sheppard

James Sheppard is a solid defensive player who will add some depth scoring for the team. Photo courtesy of Jay Laprete.

 

One would hope that Sheppard will replace Tanner Glass on the fourth line in the left wing slot. He can do everything that Tanner Glass can, but he can also score more. This could be a nice pickup if used right.

Overall, Sather made some great moves today, bolstering the defense and adding to the forward depth. Keith Yandle will wear number 93, and James Sheppard will wear number 45. Both are expected to be available to play tomorrow night against the Nashville Predators.

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Posted on March 2, 2015, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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