— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 3, 2019
The end of the regular season means the New York Rangers announce the winner of the Steven McDonald Extra Effort award.
The award implemented in the 1987-88 season is named after police officer Steven McDonald who was injured in the line of duty. It is meant to exemplify a player who goes above and beyond every season. McDonald died in 2017 giving the award so much more meaning.
Zibanejad has put forth a career year for the Rangers, scoring a career-high 72 points. He’s scored 32 goals while picking up 40 assists. The veteran has taken a big step in becoming one of the top centers in the game, along with proving he can handle the minutes of a number one center. Throughout the season, Zibanejad has been one of the few constants showing up to the rink every day with the same effort playing in all three zones.
The Rangers still do not have a captain, and some of the Ranger faithful are hoping Zibanejad also receives that honor. While they have no time table for naming a captain, he will without a doubt be a candidate for when they are ready to do so.
New York won’t make the playoffs, but the play of Zibanejad this year and this award continue to be signs of what’s to come in the future.