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Thread: Why Zibanejad Absolutely Must Sign Long-Term

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    Why Zibanejad Absolutely Must Sign Long-Term

    The productive Swede is inarguably one of the most important players to the Rangers immediate future, and as the roster is currently constructed, will begin the 2017-18 NHL season as the Rangers de facto first-line center. Thankfully, it's a role he was drafted to eventually take on by design, and his steadily increasing production provides the historical record to justify his finally being given the opportunity to prove he can handle the task.

    A quick look at his boxcar stats over the last season paint a strong, progressive outlook for his immediate future as the Rangers' top-line center:



    With his points per game played (P/GP) pace gradually improving year-over-year, combined with being arbitration eligible and having only two years of RFA status left, is there really a choice in the matter to lock him in long-term? Despite the injury-derailed season he had this past year, he's proven his value as a player worth investing in.

    Signing Zibanejad to another bridge contract—a term commonly used to describe short-term deals for young players—would be bad business for the Rangers, who should have learned a valuable lesson in why those deals are of diminishing value in today's NHL. Not only because they assuredly increase the cost of future contracts (especially those that purchase Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA)-eligible years), but specifically in Zibanejad's case, because he already signed a bridge deal with the Senators coming out of his Entry-Level Contract (ELC) back in 2015. Asking him to sign another only accomplishes in kicking the can down the road and promises to make the Rangers pay for it financially when they finally show a willingness to go long-term, this time at the age of 25 or 26 where they'd need to buy even more UFA-eligible years as a result. A year or two of a relatively cost-controlled AAV just isn't worth the long-term implications that signing Zibanejad to that kind of contract would ultimately cost the Blueshirts. It's not just the year-to-year savings, either. It's the life of the contract and the age in which the player will be upon its expiration.

    This is as sure a reality as there can be, and it's one the Rangers (hopefully) were taught not to relive with Derek Stepan, whom this very thing occurred with for many of the same reasons.

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    Broken leg was a blessing in disguise if they can lock him up long term at a good price. Guy is gonna flirt with 70 points next year...

    15 points in the first 19 games = .79 ppg

    Missed 8 weeks

    9 points in the first 20 games back = .45 ppg

    13 points in the final 17 games = .77 ppg

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    He's a pretty complete player.... Just needs to put it all together. Might not be #1 center material ever, but he's what we got

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    He's never going to carry a line the way the top centers in the league can, but with the right chemistry of wingers he can be the serviceable 1b that Stepan was. Can Hayes and their 3rd line center (whoever that ends up being) play above their roles to create enough depth to make that workable? That's the question for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Long live the King View Post
    Broken leg was a blessing in disguise if they can lock him up long term at a good price. Guy is gonna flirt with 70 points next year...

    15 points in the first 19 games = .79 ppg

    Missed 8 weeks

    9 points in the first 20 games back = .45 ppg

    13 points in the final 17 games = .77 ppg
    Yeah, the sample sizes are small, but the level of play is especially impressive. Really encouraging performances.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Myusername View Post
    He's a pretty complete player.... Just needs to put it all together. Might not be #1 center material ever, but he's what we got
    Based on what, comparisons to superstars? I think it's pretty clear he's a first-line center. In the same mold/vein as Stepan. But more dynamic.


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    Completely agree. Need to lock him up. Do you go a full 7/8 years?
    Out: Girardi, Klein, Stepan, Raanta
    In: Shattenkirk, Desharnais, Pavalec, DeAngelo/Bereglazalov/Pionk

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    No. Five- or six-year deal should do the trick. Takes him to either 29- or 30-years old where he can sign another UFA contact to ride into retirement on (here or elsewhere).


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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Absentia View Post
    Yeah, the sample sizes are small, but the level of play is especially impressive. Really encouraging performances.


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    True, its small samples. What makes it so encouraging to me is that he was able to return to that form after an injury where he wasn't just of the ice, but completely off his feet for an extended period of time. I think, if they are able to play together the majority of the season, 25 and 45 from Zib with 30+ goals from Kreider and around 20 and 30 from Buch is a super solid first line. And I don't think thos numbers are a stretch at all based on the chemistry they showed before they all got hurt. Add in the fact that Zib will be in his second year in the system, thus presumably more comrotable, and Buch will be in his second year in NA and with the team, again presumably more comfortable. They're gonna turn some heads.

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    Really loved what we saw from him in the beginning of the season, prior to injury. Looked somewhat dominant and very well rounded.

    The stats don't show it, but he came back a different player. Wasn't as physical and wasn't as shot happy as he was to start the season. I'm hoping that was just rust and nerves. Not Rangeritis.

    Definitely lock him up. Very useful and young player.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Really loved what we saw from him in the beginning of the season, prior to injury. Looked somewhat dominant and very well rounded.

    The stats don't show it, but he came back a different player. Wasn't as physical and wasn't as shot happy as he was to start the season. I'm hoping that was just rust and nerves. Not Rangeritis.

    Definitely lock him up. Very useful and young player.
    I like Zibs but his slump was not all about his injury. He had 2 weeks (8 games) from 10/30-11/13 where he literally could not keep a puck on his stick. He was demoted to the 4th line or sat at times during 2 of those games. That was before his injury. He actually was coming out of his slump and then got injured.

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    The more I think about it, the less I want a long term deal.

    I'm interested in seeing the arbitration numbers.

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    would rather lock him up now than later. worth exploring.

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    He hasn't done enough to justify something long term, unless it's extremely
    Low. I'm interested in seeing how he can play as a #1, without the protection of Stepan, that played all the important minutes and had the important matchups. If he has a great 1 or 2 years, I'd be fine paying him more... if he earned and deserved it. Worst case, he gets 6 or 6.5 in 2 years, which is at most 1m more per. If that saves us 1m the next 2 seasons, it's worth it.

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    We have cap room though and for 1m, I'd be willing to lock him up longer. 6m/5y.....id do it.

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    What? No. That's awful

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    In comparison to what?

    http://www.spotrac.com/nhl/rankings/center/

    Zibs isn't equal to/have the ceiling to be or better than
    Jordan Staal, Logan Couture, Matt Duchene, David Backes, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Filip Forsberg?

    Awful?? Nah, a little overpayment for what he could be? Yes, he has increased point production for a few years(injury last year) and is young enough to take a gamble on what could be a better option than what Stepan was here. I stand pat....6m/5y. Sold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    He hasn't done enough to justify something long term, unless it's extremely
    Low. I'm interested in seeing how he can play as a #1, without the protection of Stepan, that played all the important minutes and had the important matchups. If he has a great 1 or 2 years, I'd be fine paying him more... if he earned and deserved it. Worst case, he gets 6 or 6.5 in 2 years, which is at most 1m more per. If that saves us 1m the next 2 seasons, it's worth it.
    The problem with waiting to see that, instead of accepting that at bare minimum he's proven he's a 50-point center with a steady rise in P/GP every season he's played, is if you go with a one-year deal, you're buying at least one more year of UFA the next time around, or two if you go with a two-year award. The difference in offsetting cost between that and locking him up now stands to be staggering.

    Say, for example, Zibanejad puts up back-to-back 65-point seasons this season and next. You know what his UFA contract looks like based on that? $7M annually. Maybe more.

    And the likelihood he'd sign that deal in New York diminishes expontentially should the team actaully go through arbitration with him, let alone twice. Just ask Zach Parise how he feels about that. He was the last player to go through it in back-to-back years before leaving New Jersey for Minnesota.
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    agreed. i'm o.k. signing him sooner rather than later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsm7302 View Post
    In comparison to what?

    http://www.spotrac.com/nhl/rankings/center/

    Zibs isn't equal to/have the ceiling to be or better than
    Jordan Staal, Logan Couture, Matt Duchene, David Backes, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Filip Forsberg?

    Awful?? Nah, a little overpayment for what he could be? Yes, he has increased point production for a few years(injury last year) and is young enough to take a gamble on what could be a better option than what Stepan was here. I stand pat....6m/5y. Sold.
    Idk, I think his ceiling is those guys....and that's assuming that he's not better than RNH and Duchene. He already has as many 50-point seasons as Jordan Staal, and would have more if he hadn't gotten hurt this year.

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