Report: Mats Zuccarello bolts Rangers for two-year KHL contract

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The New York Rangers didn’t have to wait long to see their roster turn over after being eliminated.

According to IIHF Communications Director Szymon Szemberg, forward Mats Zuccarello signed a two-year deal with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL. The Metallurg site confirms the signing (link in Russian) and for the Rangers that instantly eliminates one of their better offensive depth players.

Zuccarello was called up late in the season and provided New York with an offensive spark when they needed it but after breaking his wrist, he didn’t see the ice again. Zuccarello was healthy enough to play for the Rangers in the previous two games, but couldn’t crack the lineup even with the team in search of more goals against New Jersey.

Zuccarello had two goals and an assist in 10 NHL games this season and leaves the NHL with one of the better nicknames (“The Hobbit”) we’ve seen in a long time. Good luck in Rivendell, I mean Russia, Mats.

Update (11:00 a.m. ET): Zuccarello’s agent tells Knut Arne Hansen that no deal has been signed yet, but Zuccarello has offers from Russia to play. (VGNett – Norwegian)

Update (12:25 p.m. ET): Zuccarello tweets saying there’s a lot of rumors but he doesn’t know where he’s playing next year.