Mika Zibanejad, the recent addition for the New York Rangers, spoke in person with media today for the first time since the deal, and seemed positively thrilled for the upcoming season (via Andrew Gross of USA Today). Zibanejad, 23, is coming off two straight 20-goal seasons, impressive already for a player of his age but is expecting more this year:
I want to take the next step. I want that to be a big jump. I’ve been trying to take it step by step all the time but I think, I’m waiting and I think people are waiting, for that breakout year and that’s what I’m hoping for and that’s what I’m working towards. I feel I’m ready for that.
When the Rangers dealt established centerman Derick Brassard for Zibanejad, they traded consistency for upside, and experience for youth. Now they’ll try to build on his solid start and turn him into the top-end talent they believe he can be. Right from the horse’s mouth, speaking about his ability to break out in the future: “I guess they wouldn’t have made that trade if they didn’t think so.”
- While we discussed yesterday a long-standing trade rumor involving Kevin Shattenkirk, it’s definitely no longer a guarantee that he will be dealt before the season starts, as Craig Custance of ESPN reports. GM Doug Armstrong is quoted as saying “He’s a Blue and we’re excited to have him, and expect him to have a good year.” While this doesn’t rule out a deal, Armstrong said the rumor “grew a life of its own”
- Team Sweden lost their last game against the United States in this year’s National Junior Evaluation Camp (NJEC) happing in Plymouth, Michigan over the next few days, and now have lost one of their top scorers for at least the next couple of days. Carl Grundstrom, a recent draftee of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been scratched from today’s game against Canada according to Adam Kimelman of NHL.com. The Swedish winger was taken 57th overall, and has three points (2G-1A) so far at the tournament.