GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Mats Zuccarello's status with the Rangers seemed tenuous when reports surfaced Saturday that the 24-year-old Norwegian forward was bolting for Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.
He didn't do much to quell the speculation Monday.
"I know I don't want to do this next season the same way. I don't want to be a two-way player or be up and down," Zuccarello said, referring to his two-way contract. "I have to decide what I want to do."
Despite an excellent training camp, Zuccarello failed to crack the Rangers' roster and spent the majority of the season with the team's AHL affiliate in Hartford. After being recalled in March, his season was cut short by a fractured left wrist. Zuccarello finished the season with two goals and one assist in 10 games.
"Even the injury or not, I only played 10 games this season. That's not enough for me," Zuccarello said. "I want to play more and if that's not going to happen, I've got to figure something else out."
As reported by ESPNNewYork.com on Saturday, Zuccarello has agreed to a deal in principle with the KHL's Metallurg Magnitogorsk, although playing in the NHL remains a top priority,
"I have some opportunities. I haven't really decided yet, but it will come soon. I'm not going to lie, there is some part of me that wants to go, but at the same time this is where I want to be," Zuccarello said.
"I want to be a New York Ranger. I love the players, all the guys here. The fans are unbelievable and I just love playing in New York with the team. This is where I want to be, don't get me wrong, but I have to think about what's best for me."
Before coming to North America, Zuccarello was a sensation in Europe, where he averaged more than a point per game while playing for Modo of the Swedish Elite League. He is set to become a restricted free agent.