January 7, 2019 | 4:00pm ET
TheFourthPeriod.com

TIME FOR RANGERS TO TRADE ZUCCARELLO?

 
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Mats Zuccarello, right wing

 

The New York Rangers are staying the course and plan on moving a few pieces this season and they focus on long-term gains.

With a few forwards currently being discussed league-wide, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has been busy trying to find the right trade involving some of his players.

Veteran right wing Mats Zuccarello is expecting a move in the near future, by the Feb. 25 trade deadline at the latest, and admitted to the New York Post following Sunday’s 5-0 afternoon loss to the Arizona Coyotes that the trade speculation is creeping into his game.

“I’m a human being, so obviously it has been on my mind and I’ve allowed it to get into my head, probably too much,” Zuccarello said. “When it affects my game the way it has been, that’s on me; I shouldn’t have let it get to that point.

“I mean, I’m a professional and have a responsibility to the team and my teammates. It’s been hard. I let it get to me. I need to let go of it and get back to being the Zukey everyone knows. I thought actually that it was a little bit better that way in this game for me, but obviously not close to being enough.”

Zuccarello, 31, is in the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent July.

There are a number of teams looking to add scoring to their lineup in the coming weeks and could be eyeing Zuccarello as an outside option – the Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators are among the clubs in pursuit of a top-six scorer.

“People can say that I’m making enough money, that I shouldn’t let any of this affect me, but I’m sorry, I have been here for nine years, and I am human,” Zuccarello said. “I know I have a job to do, and I am going to do my best for as long as I’m here. I don’t want to let anyone down.”

In 28 games with the Rangers so far this season, Zuccarello has registered four goals and 10 assists for 14 points.