Zibanejad Mentoring Young Rangers Prospect
In speaking with Swedish site HockeySverige, Mika Zibanejad said that he is trying to take Rangers prospect Lias Andersson under his wing.
Aside from being teammates, Zibanejad and Andersson share a few things in common. Both are from Sweden, both play center (although Andersson can play wing), both were early draft picks with high expectations, and both have represented their country on the world’s stage. In other words, Mika is the perfect guy to tutor his 19-year-old counterpart.
Zibanejad is looking to impart the same messages that Kyle Turris gave to him when the two were playing for the Ottawa Senators. Zibanejad said that one of Turris’ main messages to him was to not get caught up on certain things and to keep a positive spirit, particularly at the early stages of your NHL career.
“He works hard, has good offensive qualities and is tough on the puck,” he says about his teammate. – HockeySverige
Lias Andersson is grateful for his veteran countryman’s tutelage; and being that he is expected, at least by the fans, to make the opening night roster next season, having this relationship with Mika will benefit Lias and the team. Regardless of who is behind the bench for the Rangers next season, having teammates build chemistry during the offseason is a great way to start preparing for the coming season.
“He was in the same place when he was my age and came over to NHL. Now he has taken the time and explained to me how everything has happened, called and checked so that everything is okay and really proved he cares. That’s something I’m hugely grateful about and will remember the rest of my life.” – HockeySverige
And it looks like Zibanejad’s mentoring has taken a fun turn as well…