The Rangers have started preliminary discussions on an extension with center Mika Zibanejad, reports Larry Brooks of the New York Post. 2020-21 was a down season for the 28-year-old as he was slowed early on by a bout with COVID-19 although he managed to still post 24 goals and 26 assists in 50 games. Brooks notes that the expectation is that Zibanejad’s camp will be seeking a new deal in the $10MM per year range, an AAV that only six centers around the league have hit. Zibanejad has one more year left on his existing contract with a $5.35MM cap hit and will need to have a year similar to 2019-20 when he had 41 goals and 34 assists in 57 games if he wants a shot at becoming the seventh center to have a double-digit AAV.
More from the Metropolitan:
- Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek is expected to test the free agent market on Wednesday over signing a new deal with Carolina before then, relays Pierre LeBrun in his latest column for The Athletic (subscription link). He entered 2020-21 as their expected starter but injuries limited him to just a dozen starts. With Alex Nedeljkovic being moved to Detroit, the Hurricanes now have three pending UFAs between the pipes although GM Don Waddell expressed optimism that they can get one of them signed. At this point, it doesn’t seem as if Mrazek will be the one to put pen to paper on a new deal.
- Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov is expected to sign a short-term bridge contract, GM Brian MacLellan told Samantha Pell of the Washington Post. The 24-year-old has shown some promising flashes but was inconsistent this past season, notching just a .902 SV% in 19 appearances. Now locked in as their starter going forward, a strong couple of years on a short-term agreement could have Samsonov well-positioned for a much bigger contract in his next time through restricted free agency when he’ll have salary arbitration rights.
- Also from Pell’s column, Capitals defenseman John Carlson has undergone minor knee surgery but is expected to be fully recovered for the start of training camp. The veteran played through the issue in the playoffs but still logged nearly 26 minutes a game in their opening-round loss to Boston.