Matt Slocum/Associated Press
If the Rangers want to capitalize on their last month of play before the Olympic play, then they need to find a way to replace their leading scorer.
Mats Zuccarello broke his hand in the Olympics playing for Norway, and he is expected to miss two or three weeks, according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.
Alain Vigneault told the media Derek Dorsett will replace Zuccarello in the lineup if he's healthy (h/t Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record):
I’m hoping by Monday or Tuesday, we’re going to have a good read on where Dorse is. If there’s a chance Dorse can play, then we’ve got 12 healthy forwards so we’ll probably stay that way. If there’s a chance Dorse might not play, when Glen (Sather) gets back, we’ll talk and figure out what we’re going to do. Dorse got tested today and did pretty good on the test so with a skate on Monday and Tuesday, he’ll be close. He’ll have contact on Monday. The last couple of practices, he’s taken some hits. I think it’s just a matter of how he feels conditioning wise right now more than anything else. We’ll know after that practice on Tuesday.
If Dorsett can't go, then the Rangers will have to call up someone from the minors.
Whatever happens, they need someone to replace Zuccarello's offense. Zuccarello is the catalyst for the Rangers, in all situations. While Dorsett is a useful player, that is not his game.
Additionally, there is no player in the Rangers' system who plays the type of game that Zuccarello does.
But they need to replace his offense. Calling up someone like Danny Kristo could help. In his first full professional season, Kristo has scored 17 goals and added 14 assists in 45 games.
Without Zuccarello, the Rangers would really struggle on the man advantage, as well as off the rush.
It's only a few weeks, but with the Eastern Conference standings so tight, the Rangers cannot afford a few bad weeks. Finding someone to replace Zuccarello's offense is imperative.