Larry Brooks is reporting that the New York Rangers and Mika Zibanejad both want to work out a long-term deal.
“Individuals familiar with the situation have indicated that the parties share the mutual objective of getting something done and are earnest in trying to reach that end,” Brooks wrote in his Rangers Insider now part of POST SPORTS+ (subscription required).
This shouldn’t be a surprise as GM Chris Drury indicated as much over the summer. The two sides engaged in conversation back in early August.
“Mika is a huge part of our team. I’m not going to discuss his contract or anyone else’s publicly,” Drury said. “I have a ton of respect for him as a person and a player.”
The 28 year-old center is entering the final year of his contract.
Getting Mika Zibanejad under contract
The Rangers top center earns $5.35 million and is due for an increase. In the last two seasons he has scored 65 goals and 125 points in 113 games. That’s worth big time money, and if he hits the open market next summer he could get 7 years at $10 million per season. That’s regardless of the current flat cap situation expected to stay around $81.5 million for the next few seasons.
Although Brooks points out the Flyers 8 year deal of #1 center, Sean Couturier at $7.75 million per season could work in the Rangers favor.
Chris Drury needs to start following the lead of other teams using that 8th year to lower AAV. Giving Mika an 8 year deal despite the fact that it will take him to 37 years of age makes sense financially.
Matter of fact, that’s exactly what he should do with Adam Fox, and Alexis Lafrenière when the time comes. If Kaapo Kakko has a breakout season in 2021-22, he should consider giving him 8 years too.
Mika Zibanejad has openly said he loves playing for the Rangers. There’s mutual interest as has been reported from multiple outlets. If Drury can get Zibanejad to sign a contract for 8 years at around $8 million per season, it would be a huge win for the team’s future.
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