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The New York Rangers have officially re-signed forward Mika Zibanejad to a 5-Year/$26.75M extension worth $5.35M per season.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 25, 2017
Zibanejad had 37 points in 56 games for the Blueshirts this past season. Though his season was derailed by a broken fibula, he nevertheless managed to again improve his points per game (0.66), just as he’s done in every season he’s competed in the NHL. Best of all, at the age of 24, this deal should likely carry him through what stands to be his most productive years in the league. Barring unpredictable circumstances like injury or buyout, he should be eligible for Unrestricted Free Agency in the summer of 2022.
The price may appear high, depending on where you expected the two sides to meet, however, comparable contracts—specificallyBrayden Schenn’s—effectively set the bar north of $5M from the onset as I wrote about a few weeks ago.
Derick Brassard's 5/$25 deal signed in 2014 was 7.2% of the cap at the time.
Mika Zibanejad's 5/$26.75 in 2017 is 7.1% of the cap.
— Zach Ellenthal (@zellenthal) July 25, 2017
Though many players have elected it as a formality in contract negotiations, Zibanejad is the first Rangers player to go to arbitration since Nikolay Zherdev in 2009, which was an award they actually walked away from, making Zherdev a free agent at the time. Despite beginning the process this morning, this five-year extension ultimately sidestepped what might have been a contentious one- or two-year award had the process fully played out.
Zibanejad was the last remaining piece of business for Blueshirts General Manager Jeff Gorton, being the final unsigned free agent in need of a new deal.