The Minnesota Wild have signed forward Mats Zuccarello to a five-year contract worth $6 million per season, as well as forward Ryan Hartman to a two-year contract worth $3.8 million.
The Wild get: A smallish forward who had his most productive (0.83 PTS/GP) season in 2018-19. However, he could only get into 48 games because of injuries, including just two regular-season games with the Stars because of a broken arm that he suffered in his first game with the team. Over his previous five full seasons, Zuccarello established himself as a consistent 50-60 point player.
The additions of Zuccarello and Hartman should help the Wild on the right side. Zuccarello is now 32, yet it seems likely that he’ll end up alongside Eric Staal on the top line even though he might be more of a second-line option on other teams. The 50-60-point range seems like a reasonable target for Zuccarello, although don’t expect much more on a Wild team that struggled to score last season (210 goals in 2018-19, 27th in NHL) and didn’t make any major additions beyond Zuccarello and Hartman.
Overall, Staal and Mikko Koivu are two steady yet unspectacular options for Zuccarello. Assuming Jason Zucker isn’t traded, he could also slot in on the top line. The younger forwards that the Wild have further down the depth chart could also make potential linemates for Zuccarello, in particular ones that can stand out from the crowd.
Although Zuccarello didn’t play many games for the Stars, he made his mark there (three points in two regular-season games, 11 points in 13 playoff games). He won’t have the same kind of talent in Minnesota, although one benefit is that he should have top-line minutes. The Rangers didn’t surround him with spectacular scoring talent either, yet his numbers remained consistent.
Players this helps, in order: