Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello was in the midst of a career year when he fractured his left hand blocking a shot in Norway’s loss to Austria on Feb. 16 in Sochi. Now the team’s points (43) and assists (28) leader will miss three to four weeks due to the injury, which will equate to about two to three weeks of the regular season. Here is a look at some players who can pick up the slack in his absence.
After a subpar season in lockout-shortened 2013, the center is having a nice bounce-back year (15 goals, 27 assists) and is second on the team in points with 42. He is tied with Zuccarello and center Derick Brassard for the team lead with 15 power play points this season. Richards also leads the team with 12 assists and 3:48 per game with the man advantage, making him the best distributor and the leading candidate to make up for the loss of Zuccarello.
The 22-year-old winger leads the Rangers with six power play goals, which also is tied for second among NHL rookies. After appearing in just 23 games last season, Kreider is having a breakout year for the Blueshirts with 13 goals and 17 assists thus far, ranking fifth on the team and sixth among rookies in points. Although he did not record a point in the Rangers’ final seven games before the Olympic break, Kreider has the potential to be a significant offensive threat.