Mika Zibanejad was named the winner of the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award.
This is Zibanejad’s first time winning the award, and it is well deserved.
Zibanejad has gone above and beyond for the Rangers this season, and is the team’s leader in goals (30), assists (42), and points (72). Prior to this season, Zibanejad’s career highs in each respective category were 27, 30, and 51. Not only has Zibanejad been at the forefront of the team offensively, but he’s stepped up as a leader in the dressing room.
This is the first full season that Zibanejad has served as an alternate captain, and the 25-year-old has been a veteran leader for the true youngsters on the team such as Brett Howden, Filip Chytil, and Lias Andersson above others.
He’s shouldered additional responsibility since veterans like Mats Zuccarello left the team, and is considered to be one of the players who could conceivably be the next captain of the Rangers. Zibanejad likes to talk on the ice, and on a few occasions he’s been caught by TV cameras instructing teammates on what they should be doing. The Rangers’ alternate captain has worked really hard this season, and to me was the clear favorite to win the award.
Congrats to Mika Zibanejad!