9/22/21 | Brooks writes in the NY Post that talks are ongoing, but nothing imminent and Zibanejad has not set a deadline where a deal would need to be done. (NY Post)
9/10/21 | In the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers and Mika Zibanejad “share the mutual objective” of coming to terms on a contract extension.
He says that the talks have been “productive,” but that it is “premature” to suggest that a deal is “just around the corner.” (NY Post Sports +)
Brooks writes “the Rangers want Zibanejad on a long-term deal” and that Zibanejad “has no desire” to leave NY and the Rangers. (NY Post Sports +)
He adds that Zibanejad is believed to have “started the process by asking for upwards of $10 million per on a seven or eight-year deal,” but that Sean Couturier’s recent eight-year deal, for $7.75 million per season, with the Flyers might be a “template.” (NY Post Sports +)
It was reported at the end of July that the Rangers had begun talks with Zibanejad about an extension.
Adam Rotter: It’s hard to think about anything with Zibanejad and not also think of Jack Eichel. It has seemed for a while that the Rangers and Sabres appear to be speaking different languages when it comes to a potential trade. The Sabres want players and picks that the Rangers are either unwilling to move at all or unwilling to move unless the Sabres retain a portion of his salary. Until Eichel is ultimately traded he will always be linked to the Rangers, but many around the league continue to believe that Eichel will ultimately be traded somewhere out West.
No Eichel means that Mika Zibanejad will get a long-term deal and, if it happens before the season, potentially the “C” on his jersey. I think that the Rangers have shied away from giving Zibanejad the “C” in the past two years because they weren’t sure if he would still be on the team, but if he gets a long-term deal I think he will be the first Rangers captain since Ryan McDonagh was traded.
I don’t think Zibanejad is going to get an eight-year deal worth $10 million per season, aka the Jack Eichel contract, but I do think eight-years is a safe bet. I think that his cap hit will be between $8 million and $9.5 million depending on how much trade protection he gets. If Zibanejad gets a no-move clause through all eight-years then I think his cap hit could be around $8.5 million, but if he only gets that protection through part of his contract, I think the number could be higher. It’s certainly a risk, but Jack Eichel likely isn’t coming, Alex Barkov isn’t likely going to be a UFA and there is no in-house replacement. Zibanejad deserves this contract and if his struggles to start last year were all related to Covid then this contract will be worth it for the Rangers as they look to fully transition from rebuilding to playoffs to contending in the next couple of years.