The Blueshirts will meet their talented center in an arbitration hearing Tuesday in Toronto.
The Rangers have had a pretty good offseason up till now. Unfortunately, the signing of Mika Zibanejad to a new deal has not gone as well as both sides would have liked.
The 24-year-old, a first-round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators in 2011 was traded to the Rangers for center Derick Brassard last year. Zibanejad is currently a restricted free agent and filed for salary arbitration in the beginning of July.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post recently took a look at some comparable players and their salaries to try and figure out what Zibanejad could be awarded.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) July 24, 2017
According to Brooks, Zibanejad is asking for a $5.3 million salary, while the Rangers have countered with an offer of $4.2 million. General manager Jeff Gorton intends to meet with Zibanejad’s agent Monday in an attempt to bang out a deal before tomorrow’s hearing.
Once the hearing is concluded, the arbitrator will have 48 hours to make a decision, though the two sides can continue to work on reaching a deal during that 48-hour window. Once the arbitrator makes his decision, the Rangers will have 48 hours to decide whether to accept the arbitrator’s number or walk away.
Any decision the arbitrator makes would be for a one-year contract and could possibly make Zibanejad an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season. The two sides surely want to avoid arbitration all together as the Rangers cannot afford to lose another center this summer.
Zibanejad put up 37 points in 56 games for the Blueshirts last season, netting 14 goals to go along with 23 assists.