It has been a year since Mika Zibanejad was traded from the Ottawa Senators to the New York Rangers in exchange for Derick Brassard. Has the move worked out for the young Swede in the Big Apple?
On the face of it, you have to say yes. Bar the injury he suffered against the Florida Panthers in which he broke his fibula. He was out from that game against the Panthers on Nov. 20 until he faced the Dallas Stars on January 17, a lengthy two-month absence.
Mika’s stats look good, as already stated missing 26 games of the regular season he notched 37 points in 56 games. 0.66 PPG isn’t setting the world alight but it’s consistent and has been an ever present threat in front of goal.
Now the regular season stats aren’t front page material, but his playoff form arguably is. Pitching in with 9 points in 12 games (2 goals, 7 assists) eventually crashing out against his old team in six games.
So, Mika’s PPG went from 0.66 in his injury blighted regular season and jumped to 0.75 in the playoffs. What this means Rangers fans is that you have a player here who will step up for the big occasion, and expect him to do so in the future.
It’s worth noting that the Stockholm native is only 24, he still possesses bags of potential. With Derek Stepan heading to the desert, NYR need a new #1 center. The question therefore is Zibanejad ready to make the step up? Not yet, is my answer, slot him in on the second line and see what he does from there.
My prediction for next season is that he will produce around 0.70 PPG and continue to grow as a player, making Alain Vigneault’s life difficult when it comes to line selection.