Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #4 Jason Zucker

Jason Zucker
Left Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 5'11". Weight: 188 lbs
Born: January 16, 1992
2013-14 Team: Iowa Wild (AHL), Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Acquired: 2nd round pick (59th overall) in 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: 2

Entering the 2013-14 season, Jason Zucker was one of many young kids battling to make the Wild roster out of training camp. He struggled in camp, watched guys like Granlund/Coyle/Niederreiter thrive, then got injured to make matters worse. He was sent to Iowa to begin his season.

Early on in the year, Zucker was suspended for an illegal hit to the head against Oklahoma City. After he returned he battled inconsistent play but still was a frequent call up to the NHL team. Zucker was called up to Minnesota five different times last year, rivaling only Stephane Veliieux for most call-ups during the season. Just prior to the Olympic break, Zucker suffered a knee injury and was never heard from again.

Zucker battled inconsistency while with the Minnesota club, which is why he was continuously sent back to Iowa during the regular season. Zucker was bringing his speed and determination in the offensive zone, but the same can not be said for the defensive zone. He was mainly getting fourth line minutes and even in those limited minutes he was not successful.

With the Wild looking for solid two-way play, Zucker will need to make more of an effort to improve defensively. We know what he brings to the offensive game. His speed and knack for shooting the puck from anywhere will most definitely come in handy, but he needs to bring it while playing defense as well.

Zucker was signed to a two year contract on July 15. The deal has Zucker on a two-way contract in the first year, but in 2015-16 he will be on a one-way deal meaning he will have to pass through waivers to be sent to Iowa. Zucker is a bubble player to make the Wild roster to begin 2014-15. He could very well make the club as a third line forward next to the likes of Erik Haula and Nino Niederreiter out of camp, but he will have to have an incredibly strong camp to earn that spot. Look for Zucker to have another year of going back and forth between Iowa and Minnesota.

Team of 18,001's 2014-15 Top 10 Prospect List
1. Friday
2. Thursday
3. Tomorrow
4. Jason Zucker
10. Raphael Bussieres

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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