One night after the New York Rangers were eliminated from the NHL playoffs in an overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils, a report this morning suggested that they had suffered another loss. Forward Mats Zuccarello, one of the team's rising offensive players, was reportedly set to bolt the team to sign with the KHL's Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
Zuccarello has already come out and denied the report on Twitter. But there's a lot of confusion to this story and Zuccarello's backtrack.
The team has already announced the signing on its website. The link is in Russian, but Google translates it to say, "Magnitogorsk 'Metallurgist' signed a contract with striker Zukkarello Mats (Mats Zuccarello). Calculate the agreement for two years." The announcement is still up on the website, even after Zuccarello has come out and dismissed the speculation as rumors.
The rumor gained traction when IIHF Communications Director Szymon Szemberg tweeted this morning at 6:42 a.m. that Zuccarello had signed the two-year deal.
According to ESPN's Katie Strang, Zuccarello's agent has also come out and denied the rumors.
Zuccarello provided the Rangers with a spark in March, scoring two goals and adding an assist in eight games. On March 23, he broke his wrist, which kept him out for the rest of the season
. He was ruled healthy enough to play in the past two games but did not see any ice time.