Mats Zuccarello is in wait and see mode with 15 days remaining until the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. ET. The New York Rangers forward, in the final season of a four-year contract, is staying calm and playing well, but he'd really like to know if he's going to be traded, and to what team.
"I just wish sooner rather than later, just to clarify it," Zuccarello told NHL.com prior to the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (7 p.m.; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, NHL.TV).
"But I'm here now. I'll play my hardest and do my best. That's all I can control."
The expectation is that Zuccarello will be traded because he's a 31-year-old who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1 and the Rangers, nine points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, are one year into a rebuilding project focused on getting younger and quicker.
Even though Zuccarello a fan favorite and the game against Toronto will be his 504th in an NHL career spent entirely with the Rangers, it's unlikely that he fits into New York's plans beyond this season.
Zuccarello knows this. He knew it at this time last season, when the Rangers announced publicly they were going to rebuild and a few weeks later traded defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Nick Holden, and forwards J.T. Miller, Rick Nash and Michael Grabner in four separate trades.