The New York Rangers and center Mika Zibanejad agreed to terms on a five-year contract that brings an average annual value of $5.35 million per season on Tuesday morning, the team announced.
The agreement ensures that both parties avoid an arbitration hearing, which was scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning.
Zibanejad is coming off a decent first season with the Rangers that was cut short by injury after he was acquired from the Ottawa Senators. Following up a career-best 2015-16 campaign in which he recorded 21 goals and 30 assists, Zibanejad recorded 14 goals and 23 assists in just 56 games
While his health put his status in play for the postseason, Zibanejad’s presence helped open up the Rangers’ offense in April after a slow start in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens. In 12 games, he put up two goals and seven assists with a plus-4 rating.
Zibanejad could be centering one of the Rangers’ top two lines and their power play unit come next season. The departure of Derek Stepan makes him the Rangers’ most lethal offensive center in front of the likes of J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes and David Desharnais.