The New York Rangers announced that they have come to terms with Mika Zibanejad on a five-year, $26.75-million dollar deal with an AAV of $5.35 million.
The two parties were set to go to arbitration on Tuesday but avoided what could have been a contentious process. The Rangers’ initial offer was $4.1 million a year, whereas Zibanajad’s ask was $5.3 million a year. This deal works out to be perfect as it covers ages 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 which are Zibanejad’s prime years. Zibanejad will be 29 when he is a UFA on July 1, 2022.
Here is how the deal breaks down by a year-by-year basis.
League source: Zibanejad contract details:— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) July 25, 2017
17-18: $5.000 + $1.000 SB
20-21: $2.650 + $2.500 SB
Zibanejad earned this deal because he is a promising young center with production that suggests the best is yet to come. He has appeared in 337 games to date, scoring 78 goals while adding 110 assists for 188 points. His splits include 0.23 goals, 0.33 assists and 0.56 points per games.
This deal appears to be a safe bet as Zibanejad has been in 50-point range or paced it over the last three years
During the 2014-15 season, Zibanejad posted a line of 20-26-46 in 80 games. The following season he posted a line of 21-30-51 in 81 games. Zibanejad’s most recent campaign saw him post a line of 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points in 56 games.
If you stretch his per game rates over an 82-game campaign, you are looking at 21 goals, 34 assists and 55 points, which is solid considering that he just turned 24.
The best way to look at this deal is by quoting a segment from the article posted a few weeks ago on what Zibanejad’s fair market value was, in which I suggested a number of $5.75 million.
For context, the Rangers’ deal with Brassard paid him $25 million, $5 million AAV for years 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30, and he had 225 points in 403 games at the time. Those splits include 0.20 goals, 0.36 assists and 0.56 points per game compared to Zibanejad’s 0.23 goals, 0.33 assists and 0.56 points per game. At the time that represented 7.25% of the salary cap, whereas Zibanejad’s would occupy 7.66% of the current cap.
The Rangers got Zibanejad on a great deal and paid him for performance similar to that of Brassard. The biggest difference here is that they bought prime years of Zibanejad instead of Brassard’s past his prime years. This deal represents 7.13% of the Rangers’ current cap which is less than the share, 7.25%, Brassard occupied at the time.This signing is another great move by general manager Jeff Gorton and one that sets up the Rangers to have financial flexibility in the coming seasons.
The Rangers now have a total cap number of $71,949,444 for 21 players and $3,050,556 in cap space remaining.
There are still questions as to how the defense will shake out with multiple defenders vying for spots on the third pairing, but barring a major move the Rangers are in a good situation in terms of cap space.