New York Rangers’ center Mika Zibanejad has a brand new contract. Let’s compare his new deal to others from around the league.
If you are a New York Rangers fan, you have to be happy about the contract they gave Mika Zibanejad on Tuesday morning. The two parties avoided arbitration at the last minute, agreeing to a five-year deal worth $5.35 million annually.
For a number one center, which is what the team is hoping he becomes as soon as this season, that is a very fair contract, although it might seem like a bit of an overpay. The Rangers bought out a few of his UFA years, so it had to cost them.
If for some reason you are a bit uneasy about giving the Swede that kind of money, let’s take a look at some comparable contracts around the league to make you feel a little bit better.
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
Johnson just got his big pay day two weeks ago, as he agreed to a seven-year deal paying him $5 million annually. This could turn out to be great value for the Lightning.
Johnson has been a point-producing machine in his last two trips to the postseason. He has 20 goals and 20 assists in his last 43 playoff games. In the regular season, he’s been more than solid, too.
He hasn’t put up a 70 point season since 14-15 and perhaps has been a bit of a disappointment since. He only tallied 38 points in 69 games in 15-16 and 45 points in 69 games last year after his breakout campaign. The Lightning are banking on the 26-year-old to stay healthy this year and produce a bit more than he has the last two years.
While this contract looks better than Zibanejad’s on the surface, keep in mind that there is no state tax in Florida, so while Zibanejad is making more on the surface, he is actually pocketing just under 300k less than Johnson.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers
Yes, Huberdeau signed his big extension, the one that will begin this upcoming season, last September, before he suffered a leg injury in the preseason, but the Panthers still expect their first round pick to be a stud.
The Panthers gave Huberdeau his big six-year deal, worth $5.9 million annually, after his first three seasons in the league. Huberdeau notched 20 goals for the first time in 15-16 to go along with his 39 assists on a surprise Florida playoff team. Huberdeau needs to stay healthy this year if the Panthers stand a chance in a much tougher Eastern Conference.
Huberdeau’s deal also includes four years of a no-movement clause. If for whatever reason he can’t stay healthy, the Panthers are in a lot of trouble.
Zibanejad, who has averaged .56 points per game, will cost about $600k less on the cap than Huberdeau will while bringing home about $1 million less. To me, that sounds about right.
Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators
Hoffman signed his deal last summer, but it is worth pointing out. The Senators standout is a couple years older than Mika, but his production for his contract is exactly what the Rangers hope is replicated on Broadway.
Hoffman notched his first 60+ point season last year as he garnered 26 goals and 35 assists (a career high) on the Senators’ top line. He got a lot more opportunity to play his game last season under head coach Guy Boucher. Rangers fans saw how effective he was first hand in the playoffs. In total, the Kitchener, Ontario native tallied six goals and five assists in 19 playoff games last year.
When comparing the two contracts, you have to look at it like this; Zibanejad’s cap hit is $175K richer, but he also doesn’t have any no-movement language in his deal while Hoffman’s does. That’s a very big deal and one I’m sure the Rangers are happy they avoided.
I think, after looking at these other deals, the Rangers got pretty good market value for Zibanejad. Did they overpay a little bit? Maybe. If he continues to grow as a player, it won’t seem that way for long.