The laundry list of New York Rangers players goes on and on. The calibre of talent and the level of play is eye-opening. One player however turned heads from across the board. It is the end of season awards and a Mika Zibanejad award has been given out. The Most Valuable Player award has been given to Zibanejad.
Mika Zibanejad Awarded Team’s MVP
The MVP for the New York Rangers is voted on by people who follow this team every day. Members from the Rangers media get together and vote on such a topic. This award could’ve been given out to anyone, but the award to Mika Zibanejad is warranted. The superstar centre is having a career season and has been valuable all season long.
The Career Year
#NYR Team MVP is voted on by members of the Rangers media. Heading into the final game of the season, Zibanejad has recorded 39 goals and 51 assists for a career-high 90 points and is the third Rangers center since 1982-83 to record 90 points in a season (Gretzky, Messier).
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 12, 2023
For the first time since the 1982-83 season, a Rangers centre has eclipsed the 90-point mark. Since coming over from the Ottawa Senators, he has been nothing but spectacular. In fact, this year he is having the best year of his career. Zibanejad has 39 goals (two shy from his career high), 51 assists, and a new career-high 90 points.
The superstar centre has one game remaining to reach the 40-goal mark. In addition, Zibanejad has set a new career high in power-play goals (20) and an eye-opening 38 power-play points. This is good for seventh in the entire league. Zibanejad is tied with Norris candidate Adam Fox for game-winning goals (5). Just an overall tremendous season for the Rangers.
Mika “March” Zibanejad
When it comes to the month of March, folks think of March Madness. Well, that same type of madness applies to Mika Zibanejad. Zibanejad was the best player in that month of March. The superstar centre was electric for that month and helped guide the Rangers to a 10-4-2 record.
Zibanejad scored seven goals, 11 assists, and 18 points. Nearly a point per game pace for the entire month. It was also his most productive month of the season. In addition, five of his points came on the power play while also grabbing a game-winning goal. He has displayed why he is the MVP consistently and this month helped ensure why. To cement his legacy as Mika “March”, he played 97 games as a Ranger in this month. Zibanejad has scored 49 goals, 52 assists, and 101 points.
Zibanejad Underlying Numbers
While the points and milestones are great, here are other ways Zibanejad has contributed this season. He is second among forwards in takeaways (55), while also having 67 giveaways. Zibanejad has a faceoff win percentage of 49.6%. His offensive season sees him with a 15.7% shooting percentage while averaging 1.45 goals scored per 60 minutes. Zibanejad is no stranger to generating chances and does a great job in the high-danger area. His 12.45 high-danger expected goals rank second on the team. Zibanejad’s xGF% of 55.4% ranks fifth on the team as well as his possession numbers (56% Corsi For). Good things happen when the puck is on his stick.
While being a power play machine, he has been deployed on the penalty kill. Zibanejad has had 218 shifts on the kill and leafs the club in takeaways (13). He is not afraid to take chances either. When on the ice, he has 17 shot attempts with 10 getting on the net. His two points while short-handed are good for third on the team.
MVP MVP MVP
The Mika Zibanejad award may not be for the league MVP, but he is the Rangers MVP. Zibanejad can do it all as mentioned above and has continuously improved over the course of his career. He is locked up for the long haul and this could be the first of many for him. With this award rewarding, the bigger prize is on the line.
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