Michael Russo of The Athletic is reporting some unfortunate news on Friday. According to Russo, Minnesota Wild veteran forward Mats Zuccarello will not be ready for the start of the season and “may be out a good bit longer” after surgery on his right arm.
The procedure was weeks ago, but Zuccarello has flown from Norway to Minnesota to see the team doctors and the reports are that he will miss some significant time. Russo adds, “This is the same arm Zuccarello broke in his debut with the Dallas Stars two seasons ago.” The injuries may be unrelated, but it’s being mentioned because Zuccarello reportedly played with this discomfort for most of last season.
This will be a big loss for the Wild as the season isn’t that far around the corner (even if it has been delayed). He scored 37 points in 65 games while playing through an injury and he’s a consistent offensive threat, something the Wild don’t exactly have a lot of.
Wild Have Some Pretty Lousy Looking Contracts Now
Needless to say, the five-year, $30 million contract that the Wild signed with Zuccarello in 2019 isn’t looking so great these days. He’s missed a ton of time since being acquired and when you look at this deal in the grander scheme of some of the Wild’s albatross like contracts, GM Bill Guering can’t be loving the latest news.
Between Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Wild have over $21 million tied up until 2023-24 in three players, all in their mid-thirties. Guerin has tried to come in and make some changes, but those contracts don’t make it easy.
And, depending on how long it appears Zuccarello will be out, the Wild may or may not be able to put his $6 million cap hit on long-term injured reserve so that the team can sign someone else as a short-term fix.
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