Veteran forward Jason Zucker is clearly not happy with his current situation and frankly I can hardly blame him. In spite of being a member of the Minnesota Wild's franchise for his entire career, Zucker has had to deal with rampant trade speculation over the past several months and it seems clear now that it has taken its toll on him.
We know now of course that former Minnesota Wild general manager Paul Fenton tried unsuccessfully to trade Zucker on 3 separate occasions, once to the Arizona Coyotes at the draft in 2019, once to the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline in 2019, and of course the now infamous trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins that was blocked by the other man in that deal, Phil Kessel. That would be enough for Zucker, a player that has remained loyal to the Wild organization, to feel frustrated but that has only been made worse by his deployment under head coach Bruce Boudreau as of late.
Zucker was demoted to the team's fourth line this week and when asked if he had spoke to Boudreau about the decision, Zucker made it clear that he had not. Not only did Zucker make it sound like he had not spoken to his coach, but he also appeared to go out of his way to make it clear he was no longer playing for the coach either.
“I haven’t heard a word. I’m playing for my teammates,” said Zucker as per The Athletic. “That’s it.”
Zucker's frustrations do not seem to be limited to the coaching staff however. Zucker was asked on Sunday morning if he had spoken to Wild general manager Bill Guerin about his status ahead of the trade deadline for the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season and again Zucker made it clear that there had been no communication. Once again Zucker went one step further however in making it clear that he was done dealing with the circus that he has been put in the middle of over the last several months.
“Heard nothing. Whatever happens, happens. I’m done dealing with it. I’m done worrying about it.”
Minnesota Wild insider Mike Russo believes that trading Zucker makes the most sense when you consider the team needs to open up a spot in their top 6 for the expected signing of Russian forward Kirill Kaprizov, and when you consider how rocky the relationship between Zucker and the team appears to be at this stage it seems like the writing may be on the wall.