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Mats Zuccarello

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Mats Zuccarello
MZuccarelloAasen.jpg
Born September 1, 1987 (1987-09-01) (age 29)
Oslo, Norway
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight 175 lb (79 kg; 12 st 7 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
New York Rangers
Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
Frisk Tigers (GET)
Modo Hockey (SEL)
National team Template:Country data Norway
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 2004–present

Mats Zuccarello (born Mats André Zuccarello Aasen on September 1, 1987) is a Norwegian professional ice hockey winger who currently plays for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL).

He is the seventh Norwegian to play in the NHL. Before the NHL he played for Modo Hockey in the Swedish Elitserien for two seasons.

In 2010, Mats won the Guldhjälmen (Golden Helmet), which is awarded annually to the most valuable player in the Elitserien, as decided by a vote of its players.

Playing CareerEdit

Norway & SwedenEdit

Mats began playing full-time for the Tigers in the GET-ligaen, Norway's premiere league, as an 18-year-old. He scored 8 points over 21 games as a rookie in 2005–06.

The following season, he improved to 59 points over 43 games, third in league scoring behind Jonas Solberg Andersen and Mathis Olimb.

In 2007–08, Mats helped the Tigers to the best regular season record in the league.

Mats finished third in league scoring a second consecutive season with 64 points, as he and Tigers teammates Chris Abbott, Cam Abbott and Marcus Eriksson ranked as the top four GET-ligaen scorers.

Mats added 27 points in 15 playoff games as the Tigers advanced to the Finals, where they were defated in six games by the Storhamar Dragons.

After three seasons in the GET-ligaen, Mats signed with Modo Hockey of the Elitserien, Sweden's premiere league.

In his first season with Modo, he ranked third in team scoring with 40 points in 35 games.

The following season, Mats led the team with 23 goals. With a league-leading 64 points, he was awarded the Guldhjälmen as the league's most valuable player, as voted by Elitserien players.

New York RangersEdit

In the summer of 2010, Mats was signed as a free agent by the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL) to a two-year entry-level contract.

He started the 2010–11 season with the Hartford Wolf Pack (later renamed Connecticut Whale), the Rangers' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate to learn the North American rink dimensions.

On December 22, 2010, he was called up to the Rangers following an injury to right winger Marian Gaborik.

Mats made his NHL debut on December 23, 2010 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, becoming the seventh Norwegian player to play in the NHL, and the second undrafted one.

He logged 17 minutes and 52 seconds of ice time and registered two shots on goal in his NHL debut.

As the game remained tied after overtime, Mats scored in the shootout against Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis. The Rangers lost the game 4–3.

Even though he was re-assigned to the Whale immediately after the game, the Rangers recalled Mats once more for their next game on December 27, 2010 against the New York Islanders.

Mats earned his first NHL assist during the contest, tying with defenceman Anders Myrvold for the Norwegian player with the fewest number of games played before recording an NHL point. The Rangers won the game 7–2.

Nine days later in his sixth game, Mats scored his first NHL goal against goaltender Cam Ward three minutes into overtime, leading the Rangers to a 2–1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

On April 1, 2011, he was reassigned to Connecticut after playing 41 games for the Rangers.

On April 13, 2011, Mats became only the second Norwegian to take part in NHL postseason action when the New York Rangers lost 2–1 against the Washington Capitals.

Metallurg MagnitogorskEdit

On June 1, 2012, Mats confirmed that he has signed a two-year deal with the KHL team Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Career StatisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004–05 Frisk Tigers GET 10000
2005–06 Frisk Tigers GET 2153812 40002
2006–07 Frisk Tigers GET 4334255936 74482
2007–08 Frisk Tigers GET 3324406448 1512152724
2008–09 Modo Hockey SEL 3512284038
2009–10 Modo Hockey SEL 5523416462
2010–11 Connecticut Whale AHL 3613162916 21124
2010–11 New York Rangers NHL 42617234 10002
2011–12 Connecticut Whale AHL 3712243622
2011–12 New York Rangers NHL 102136
2012–13 Metallurg Magnitogorsk KHL 4411172830 722410
2012–13 New York Rangers NHL 153588 121674
GET totals 98636813196 2616193528
SEL totals 903569104100
NHL totals 6711233418 131676

International StatisticsEdit

Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
2004 Norway Jr. WJC U18 60228
2005 Norway Jr. WJC U18 (D1) 52356
2006 Norway Jr. WJC 60224
2007 Norway Jr. WJC (D1) 52572
2008 Norway WC 71012
2009 Norway WC 63038
2010 Norway OG 41232
2010 Norway WC 63142
Int' totals 23831114

International PlayEdit

Mats has represented Norway at the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Canada, the 2009 IIHF World Championship, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Germany.

He had to withdraw from the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia due a hand fracture.

Personal LifeEdit

Mats grew up in the suburbs of Løren in Grorud Valley, Oslo. He is of Sicilian and Norwegian ancestry.

Mats started playing hockey in Hasle-Loren when he was 5 years old. After some years in Hasle-Løren, he started playing for Vålerenga where he stayed until the end of lower secondary school.

By that time, he had been scouted by the Frisk Tigers, who offered him a scholarship at the Norwegian College of Elite Sport which he accepted.

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