The Rangers are able to sign Mika Zibanejad to a contract extension beginning on Wednesday.
Zibanejad, 28, is in the final year of a five-year deal that has a cap hit of $5.3 million. He has a full no-move clause.
Asked about Zibanejad on Saturday, Chris Drury said “obviously Mika is a huge part of our team and has been a huge part of our organization for a long-time. I’m certainly not going to discuss his contract or anyone else’s publicly, but certainly have a ton of respect for him as a person and a player for what he has done here and I’ll leave it at that.”
Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post that the Rangers have begun preliminary discussions with Zibanejad about a contract extension.
Brooks says that Zibanejad is believed to be seeking a deal that would be around $10 million per year for 7 or 8 years. The Rangers are believed to want a contract of 5-6 years. (NY Post)
Adam Rotter: At this moment it seems like extending Zibanejad is the more likely outcome than trading for Jack Eichel. Buffalo wants him out West and the high price they are asking of everyone now will likely remain with the Rangers while it gets lowered for other teams. Zibanejad has been a bargain and a great Ranger through almost all of this contract. He became one of the very best players in the league over the prior two seasons and while this past one was more up and down because of his first struggles, he’s still someone who will get a massive payday in his next contract.
I’ve thought that if the Rangers can get Zibanejad for a number that comes in under $9.5 million they should jump at it, but while the cap hit is of obvious concern, the term is the bigger issue. The Rangers have handed out seven-year deals to Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, and Jacob Trouba in recent years and just gave Barclay Goodrow six. While they went to seven years for Kreider to get that deal done, even though he was 29, the cap hit is much less than Zibanejad’s will be. Zibanejad, especially if he has another big season, will easily get seven years and around $10 million as a UFA next summer, so the Rangers don’t have a ton of leverage, especially since Zibanejad is in control with his no-move clause and just walk to free agency if he doesn’t like what the Rangers are offering. Just because he is eligible to sign on Wednesday doesn’t mean that anything is imminent, but it’s hard to see the Rangers make any big move and not immediately think how it will impact Zibanejad’s future.