Wild winger Mats Zuccarello has been granted permission from the team to suit up for Norway at the Olympic qualifying tournament this summer, the veteran confirmed to VG’s Oystein Jarlsbo and Helge Mikalsen. It will be his first time suiting up for the national team since 2017.
The 33-year-old is coming off of one of his better seasons statistically, in terms of per-game numbers as he put up 11 goals and 24 assists in 42 games; his 0.83 points per game average tied the highest of his career. Not surprisingly, he’ll immediately become Norway’s top offensive threat in the tournament. This will be his second time playing in the Olympic qualifiers with his first attempt coming four years ago where he led the Norwegians in scoring with five points in three games.
There are three sets of Olympic qualifying tournaments being held this summer with the winner from each earning the final three spots. Norway will host a group with South Korea, Slovenia, and Denmark. Slovakia will host the group with Austria, Belarus, and Poland, while Latvia hosts France, Italy, and Hungary. There are a handful of NHL players from those countries and those teams will need to decide soon whether or not they will be allowing them to participate like Minnesota has done with Zuccarello.