Top 25 Minnesota Wild players 25-years-old or younger; No. 8 Jason Zucker


Jason Zucker has been an enigma for the Minnesota Wild in his two-plus seasons in the NHL. There may not be a more inconsistent player on the team. Yet, he is one of the better goal scorers.

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Minnesota Wild


Jason Zucker

one of their more important prospects after drafting him in 2010. He has speed and natural goal scoring ability that fits really well into the way the NHL is played now.

Zucker proved early on to be most talented sniper in the organization. However, it has not been easy for him to find regular playing and consistency in the NHL.

The 24-year-old split his first two seasons between Minnesota and the team’s AHL affiliate. Zucker played 20 and 21 games in the NHL, respectively, and scored four goals in each. He combined to play 77 games in the AHL those two seasons and scored 32 goals.

The Las Vegas native finally got the opportunity to spend an entire season in the NHL in 2014-15. He responded by scoring 21 goals and went through a stretch in which he was the best forward on the Wild roster. He was on pace to score 33 goals until surgery to repair a broken clavicle forced him to miss the final two months of the season.

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The 5-foot-11-inch, 185-pound left wing came back in the 2015-16 season with hope and optimism over the way he was playing prior to the injury. But, he struggled to duplicate goal scoring production and found himself shuffling up and down the lineup, including several benchings and healthy scratches down the stretch. Interim head coach John Torchetti continually said that Zucker needed to play a “two-way game.” The defensive side of the game has always been the knock on Zucker.

When Zucker went through his hot streak, he was confident in his game and recognized the right opportunity to fly out of his defensive zone for a stretch pass. His speed and ability to finish on the breakaway forced opposing defensemen to back out of the zone. If the stretch pass wasn’t there, it was easier for the other four Wild players to break out of their own zone.

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There are so many aspects to Zucker’s game that only come out on occasion. He can be a physical player. He can be a goal scorer. And he can be a disruptive speedster. When all of them are present during a game, Zucker is a dominant player that can single-handedly win a game. When one occurs, he can help a team win. And when none happen, he is a liability.

New head coach Bruce Boudreau’s offensive history and success should help Zucker bring those aspects on a more consistent basis.