Mats Zuccarello, the 5-7 Norwegian forward who left the Rangers for the KHL last season, has agreed to terms to return to the Blueshirts, two sources close to the situation said Monday.
"We've agreed on the numbers; all that's left is the paperwork," one source said. The 25-year-old left wing, who remained Rangers property, had a clause in his two-year contract with Metalurg Magnitogorsk that permitted him to leave after one season to return to the NHL.
The financial details of the deal, believed to cover the rest of this season and next season, were not immediately available Monday night.
Zuccarello, who had 11 goals and 28 points in 44 regular-season games and added two goals and two assists in seven playoff games in Russia, was welcomed by his former teammates when they were told of the deal after practice.
"He's a skilled guy," captain Ryan Callahan said. "Shootouts, he's pretty good at those. He was playing well [last season before suffering a hand injury]. I think the way he sees the ice and can move the puck, he's shifty out there and he's a talented guy that we can use. It's no secret we need to score more goals, so bringing a guy in that can create offense will definitely help the team."
The Rangers (15-13-3) have scored the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference.
In 52 NHL games over two seasons, Zuccarello had eight goals and 18 assists.
"He's going to add some skill to our game, especially our power play," Marian Gaborik said. "We all know him. He's a good kid. He decided to go to Russia and try something else. We're glad to have him back. He's going to definitely add some offense that we need."
If immigration issues are resolved, Zuccarello, who will not have to clear waivers, could join the team by the weekend. The Rangers visit Montreal on Saturday.