New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Mika Zibanejad on a five-year contract with an average annual value of $5.35 million.
Zibanejad, 24, skated in 56 games with the Rangers this past season, registering 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points, along with a plus-nine rating and 16 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in several categories in 2016-17, including assists per game (0.41), points per game (0.66), and faceoff win percentage (52.0%; 494-for-950), and he tied his career-high in power play goals (four). Zibanejad registered at least one point in 28 of the 56 games he played during this past season, and the Rangers posted a 33-17-6 record when he was in the lineup in 2016-17. He ranked fifth on the Rangers in points per game and tied for sixth on the team in assists per game during the past season. Zibanejad recorded 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 18 games against Metropolitan Division opponents in 2016-17. Zibanejad also registered nine points (three goals, six assists) in the final nine games of the regular season, as well as 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in his final 21 regular season contests.
The 6-2, 215-pounder also skated in 12 contests with the Rangers during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, registering two goals and seven assists for nine points, along with a plus-four rating. Zibanejad established playoff career-highs in several categories, including games played, goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating. He tied for the NHL lead in shorthanded assists (one), tied for second in the NHL in shorthanded points (one), and tied for third in the NHL in overtime goals (one) in the playoffs. In addition, Zibanejad led the Rangers in assists, points, and overtime goals, tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (one), faceoff wins (102), and shorthanded assists, ranked second in shots on goal (34), tied for second in shorthanded points and power play assists (one), and tied for third in plus/minus rating in the playoffs. He registered his first career overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 5 of the First Round at Montreal on April 20, 2017.
Zibanejad has skated in 337 career NHL games over parts of six seasons with the Rangers and Ottawa (2011-12 - 2016-17), registering 78 goals and 110 assists for 188 points, along with 80 penalty minutes. His points per game average has increased in every season over the course of his NHL career. Zibanejad established career-highs in games played (81), goals (21), assists (30), and points (51) during his final season with the Senators in 2015-16, and he was also one of 11 NHL centers who logged at least 1,000 even strength minutes of ice time, 200 power play minutes of ice time, and 100 shorthanded minutes of ice time during the season. Zibanejad has skated in 28 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, tallying 17 points (four goals, 13 assists).
The Huddinge, Sweden, native was originally selected by Ottawa in the first round, sixth overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.