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Return of the Hobbit?

Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers celebrates

Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers celebrates his second period goal against the New Jersey Devils with teammate Ryan Callahan. (March 19, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Even in the KHL, where Mats Zuccarello scored 11 goals and 28 points in 44 games, the Rangers retained his NHL rights.

The machinations to bring him back into to the or-gan-eye-zation began a couple weeks ago, when GM Glen Sather had said he was interested in the winger, who last played in blue late in the 2011-12 season and then was injured, ending his run here.

I wrote on Sunday that we would know more about Zuke's status when his KHL squad, Mettalurg Magnitogorsk, either advanced or was bounced from the playoffs. Well, they were eliminated and in an early notebook yesterday from MSG, indicated that the talks would heat up. Problem is, Zuke may want a one-way deal to prevent being sent to Hartford again.

Anyway, the notebook item was replaced fo the Marc Staal injury update---much, much more vital---and meanwhile, The Record's Andrew Gross learned from Zuke's agent that his camp was waiting to hear back from Sather.

The Blueshirts certainly have cap space to make the move, but, here's one stumbling block: The Rangers really could use another center (Florida UFA to be Stephen Weiss, also mentioned Sunday as a possibility, is injured and gone for months) and a veteran d-man couldn't hurt for depth. Bickel and Gilroy don't seem to be blueline regulars on the Torts landscape. Trade deadline is April 3.

New York Sports