In his Dallas Stars debut, Mats Zuccarello exited early in the second period with an upper-body injury. He would not return and has been ruled out for the next four weeks. It was later announced he would require surgery.
Mats Zuccarello is heading back to Dallas for evaluation, but the early assessment is that he is expected to miss at least 4 weeks.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 24, 2019
Dallas Stars’ Mats Zuccarello Injured in Promising Debut
Mats Zuccarello has had an eventful 24 hours. Upon finding out he’d been traded by the New York Rangers, the Norwegian winger would suit up the very next afternoon. The Dallas Stars were visiting the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. While it started out promising, scoring a goal and an assist in his first two periods, things took a turn for the worst.
Following a blocked shot, Zuccarello went down holding his arm. The 31-year-old believes he broke his arm. Pending evaluation, the Stars initially believe their newest member will be out four weeks. Surgery should speed up recovery time. However, he’s been known to play through injuries before. In the meantime, Zuccarello will likely be able to suit up before playoffs get underway. Dallas’ regular season concludes April 6th. While he rehabilitates, the rest of the team will fight to stay in the postseason race.
This is the shot Mats Zuccarello blocked in the second period. pic.twitter.com/0912YKThAW
— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) February 24, 2019
What This Means For The Future
It’s not difficult picturing the Stars without Zuccarello. However, they sure will miss his presence. His glimpse in a Dallas jersey was just what General Manager Jim Nill was hoping for. They sit atop the Wild Card race with 67 points and 20 more games. Sunday’s win over the rolling Blackhawks was a much needed two points in which Zuccarello was integral to. The lineups will likely return to what they were prior to Saturday night’s trade.
Nevertheless, all eyes should be on the postseason for the Stars. The Rangers traded for Dallas’ second-round pick with the condition that the Stars reach the Western Conference Final and it becomes a first rounder. This is a testament to the promise that this team shows while competing in a division as tough as the Central. They should be a worthy opponent for the Western juggernauts come April and May so long as they maintain their playoff spot.
Furthermore, getting a rested Zuccarello should bolster the Stars’ confidence. A storied playoff veteran in New York, the winger will bring experience to the Dallas locker room. Someone that’s reached three Eastern Conference Finals and one Stanley Cup Final is a valued leader on a young team. The future is bright while the new guy gets ready to get back on the ice.