Norwegian star Mats Zuccarello-Aasen (above).

With Rangers’ super sniper Marian Gaborik ailing from a sore groin, the club has recalled diminutive international star, Mats Zuccarello-Aasen, who will make his big league debut in a few minutes in Ranger blue on Garden ice.

Zuccarello will wear # 36 tonight in his NHL debut, and is expected to see time in offensive situations at right wing, which is especially depleted since heart and soul, true grit right winger Ryan Callahan broke his hand in Pittsburgh.  MZA, who made his North American debut this year for the Rangers AHL Connecticut affiliate, was dogged by erronious rumors that after a slow start, he was looking to high tail it back to Europe.  But Zuccarello, who claims this was never the case, has adapted very well to the North American game since, and is only a few goals off the pace of the AHL league leader.

Zuccarello will have a nice opportunity to make the team for a stretch here, even though he is only 5’6 and not the fleetest of foot.  But he is a super creative offensive player, and we should see the brilliance if he is strong enough to go get the puck.  On a big team like the Rangers, Zuccarello may have a good opportunity hiding among the trees.  But they are going to have a little bit of trouble without Gabby and Cally.

With one of them out, we’d view it as an opportunity to really get a read on a youngster like Zuccarello.  With both out, we’re a little worried about the offense.


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