The New York Rangers have come to terms with #1 center Mika Zibanejad on an 8 year extension with an AAV of $8.5 million, per Larry Brooks.
Financial terms were not disclosed by the Rangers for Zibanejad, who led the team in goals (24) and game-winning goals (seven) last season. The 28-year-old Swede also had 26 assists to finish with 50 points.
“I am super, super excited to be here for another 8 years,” Zibanejad said in a video. “I can’t believe it and I can’t wait to see you at the Garden soon. Let’s get this season started.”
New York Rangers extend Mika Zibanejad
The Rangers acquired Zibanejad and a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft from the Ottawa Senators on July 18, 2016. The Senators received fellow forward Derick Brassard and a seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft in the trade.
“Since joining the team in 2016, Mika has emerged as one of the premier players in the NHL,” Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury said in a statement. “In addition to being a great player on the ice, Mika is an exemplary person off of the ice. We are fortunate to have him as part of our Rangers organization and are excited that he will continue his career in New York.”
Zibanejad has recorded 434 points (200 goals, 234 assists) in 604 career games with the Senators (2011-16) and Rangers. He was selected by Ottawa with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 NHL Draft.
Rangers effectively out of Jack Eichel trade talks
Leading up to this signing, Forever Blueshirts had learned through a well placed source, that the Rangers would be in Jack Eichel trade discussions up until Mika signed an extension.
Basically, the Rangers interest in Eichel was an unspoken bargaining chip that Chris Drury had in his back pocket. The bottom line is that Eichel was a plan B if Zibanejad was unwilling to come down a little on his ask. New York obviously did that by giving Mika the 8th year as security.
Drury will face some cap issues come next season with both Adam Fox and Kaapo Kakko coming off entry-level deals. Also needing to be re-signed are Vitali Kravtsov and Sammy Blais, with Alexis Lafrenière’s and K’Andre Miller’s ELC up the season after that.
Having both Eichel and Zibanejad on the books would’ve put a strain on their cap situation, and likely open them up to an offer-sheet.
In a previous report, the same person told me that Fox’s next deal should come in around $9 million. This likely means several Rangers could be moved out or looking for new homes next season. Alexandar Georgiev and Ryan Strome being at the top of the list.
The New York Rangers are hoping that Chytil will take the right steps this season and take over the #2 center job in 2022-23.
Today’s NHL Rumors dives in on Adam Fox, Jack Eichel, and more.
–Field Level Media contributed to this report