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Zuccarello traded to Stars by Rangers

New York receives two conditional draft picks for forward

by @NHLdotcom

Mats Zuccarello was traded to the Dallas Stars from the New York Rangers on Saturday for a conditional second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The 31-year-old forward is in the final season of a four-year contract he signed March 2, 2015, and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"I don't really care about that," Zuccarello said about his contract status. "I'm here to make the playoffs and hopefully get as far as we can in the playoffs. Everything else, I don't care about right now."

Zuccarello has 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 46 games this season and has led the Rangers in scoring each of the past three seasons.

"He makes great decisions with the puck, tireless worker and someone who can play in every situation," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said about Zuccarello. "He's just going to add a diversity, a creativity to our forward group that is much needed and will make us a better team."

Signed as a free agent May 26, 2010, Zuccarello has 352 points (113 goals, 239 assists) in 509 regular-season games and 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 60 Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with New York.

"I mean, you've been there for nine years, so obviously it's a little bit emotional," Zuccarello said of being traded by New York. "At the end of the day, I probably knew for a long time I was going to get traded. So it was almost like, you're just happy once it was over; it was kind of a relief. Now I can just focus on the next chapter here, hopefully I can contribute with Dallas and do my best here."

Video: Mats Zuccarello is headed for Dallas

The second-round pick in the 2019 draft will become a first-round selection if the Stars advance to the Western Conference Final and if Zuccarello plays in at least 50 percent of Dallas' games over the first two rounds of the playoffs. The third-round pick in the 2020 draft will become a first-round selection if the Stars re-sign Zuccarello in the offseason.

"We're adding an elite offensive player to our team," Stars general manager Jim Nill said about Zuccarello. "He's a very tenacious, hardworking, puck-chasing type of guy. He has great hockey sense, he competes hard, great at finding players in the offensive zone."

The trade was the second made by the Stars on Saturday; they acquired defenseman Ben Lovejoy from the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Connor Carrick and a third-round pick in the 2019 draft.

Dallas (30-26-5) holds the first wild card into the playoffs from the West and is tied in points with the Colorado Avalanche.

"The message is we have to go do it now," Nill said. "We filled in holes we had and we added some elite players to those positions and we have to win some games now."

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