Rangers and Zibanejad are headed to arbitration hearing, no one should be shocked

Zibanejad (SCOTT AUDETTE/NHLI VIA GETTY IMAGES)

It looks like the Rangers and Mika Zibanejad could not come to terms before today’s 9AM hearing in Toronto. Here’s what you need to know at this time.

A deal can still be reached

The NYR and Zibanejad can still reach a deal before the arbitrator renders a decision within 48 hours. This actually occurred with Detroit’s Tomas Tatar last week. No matter what, I highly doubt the Rangers walk away from any reward given like they did with Nik Zherdev. They simply don’t have centers.

You Shouldn’t Be Surprised

If you are a loyal reader of this site, on July 18th we warned you that this could happen. I wrote:

I recently spoke with a reporter in Ottawa that told me one of the big reasons to move such a highly promising young center was fear they couldn’t afford him when his contract expired. That his demands were already too high.

In addition, there is reason to believe that Zibanejad and Newport Sports were not seeing eye to eye on his value. This prompted him to ditch one of the leading sports agencies in North America and hire his half brother. Rumor has it that Zibanejad could be seeking 5.5M or more on his next contract.

Could this be heading the route of Nik Zherdhev? The Rangers actually walked away from his arbitration reward, although I doubt they would here. However, the Rangers may be forced (or have already decided) into only signing Zibanejad to a 2 year deal, which would make him a potentially very desirable UFA at its expiration.

This could get ugly.

Well…today is pretty gloomy outside.

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