David Perron vs. Mats Zuccarello

Rick Roos




This week's Cage Match focuses on David Perron and Mats Zuccarello, who are emerging as legitimate second tier, 60 point wingers. But which one is more likely to finish the year strongest, and who will give your team more upside in the seasons to come?


Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Hit

For two players who are less than a year apart in age and, as of January 21, were tied in scoring (35 points each) for 2013-14, their paths to get where they are now could not have been more different. Perron was a first rounder who jumped straight from juniors to the NHL and who, despite missing a year's worth of games due to concussion issues, will soon play in his 400th regular season contest. Zuccarello went undrafted and was signed by the Rangers after successful seasons in his native Norway and 104 points in 90 games for Modo of the Swedish Elite League.

Perron played steady if unremarkable hockey in St. Louis, reaching the 20-goal mark twice but 50 points just once. Zuccarello hit the ground running in New York, with 23 points in 42 games in 2010-11 between AHL stints. But after playing ten Ranger games in 2011-12 Zuccarello inked a deal to play in the KHL, only to be back in the NHL during 2012-13. Barring injury, this season he'll more than double his career total of 67 NHL games.

Perron is signed through 2015-16 at a yearly cap hit of $3.812M, while Zuccarello will be an RFA after this season, and likely will command a significant raise over his current $1.15M salary. It's fair to say that by next year their cap hits should be pretty comparable…assuming Zuccarello chooses to stay in the NHL (more on that below).


Ice Time – Past Seasons and 2013-14 (through January 20th)

With Zuccarello having played only 67 career games, his past data won't tell us too much. In contrast, Perron has plenty to draw from (aside from his injury shortened 2010-11), and it will be important in particular to see if going to the Oilers has resulted in him getting more (and better quality) Ice Time.