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Sens re-sign Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad

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  • Sens re-sign Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad

    Mika Zibanejad and Mark Stone will both be staying in Ottawa.
    Zibanejad, 22, agreed to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $2.625 million with the Senators on Thursday.
    Stone, 23, agreed to a three-year contract worth $3.5 million against the salary cap.
    Zibanejad recorded career highs in goals with 20 and points with 46 last season. He added one goal and three assists in six playoff games.
    The Swedish winger, who was selected sixth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft, has tallied 43 goals and 100 points in 200 career games with the Senators.
    His contract is worth $2 million in 2015-16 and $3.25 million the following season.
    Stone enjoyed a successful rookie year last season. He recorded 26 goals and 64 points and was a Calder Trophy nominee.
    The Winnipeg native added four assists in six playoff games while playing through a fractured wrist.
    Stone was drafted in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft.
    In 103 career games, all with the Senators, the right winger has 30 goals and 72 points.
    Stone's contract is broken down into $2.25 million in its first season, $3.75 in its second and $4.5 million in 2017-18.

    I like both deals. Good job, Murray.

  • #2
    This is great news!!


    • #3
      I'm surprised we got Zbad to sign for so little. Great deals.


      • #4
        Great deals indeed. Wow.


        • #5
          Am I the only one who thinks Zibanejad is primed to break out as a true number one (dare I say: elite) center this coming season? I generally try to be reserved in my optimism, but that's largely because so often fans have absurd expectations that I feel the need to temper, but for whatever reason, everybody seems to have excessively reserved expectations for Z-Bad, and he deserves better than that from fans.

          I recall last summer browsing the hockey pooler prediction magazines, and every last one predicted between 35-40 points for him, a very modest increase over his 33 in 69 the previous year. Recently, I was browsing online and came across a number of media pieces and fan blogs predicting very modest point increases. One blogger suggested that in the very best possible scenario, Zibanejad could reach 60 points, and he seemed satisfied but hesitant about that. He's a former sixth overall pick, and with the Sens draft history in Sweden. So why are we so hesitant with him? Is it his quiet, unassuming, bashful personality? On the ice he shows how abrasive, tenacious and competitive he really is.

          I remember when we picked Zibanejad, I knew next to nothing about him, but was just happy we didn't go with Couturier. There too, everyone was underestimating him, as he ended up going well higher than all the rankings had him. I was hesitant, given his pedestrian scoring totals in junior and limited SHL appearances. The following season and a half didn't help, with another year of limited SHL appearances, followed by a very poor start to his North American pro career in the AHL. The lone shred of hope was his 2012 World Junior performance.

          But as soon as he joined the Sens for the remainder of the 2013 lockout season, my opinion started to change. What I started to see, and came to see more and more of over the next couple seasons, was a player with first line quality skating, stick-handling, vision and awareness, with an elite level shot. His shot has everything everybody wants - power, accuracy, quick release, deceptiveness, the ability to shoot and score from all positions and angles. Slapshot without breaking stride, wrister, snapshot, one timer, deflections. What I saw was a kid with all the assets to be a top line power forward, except for the power. The size and frame were there, but he simply lacked the physical maturity, so it's no surprise then that his offensive game suddenly started to blossom this year along with his beard.

          For years now Zibanejad has been a boy playing against men, but the problem was that his style of game requires a certain amount of physical assertion and you could so often see him trying to drive the net but getting neatly angled away or thrown down by older, stronger defensemen.

          Following Craig Button, I take it to be a rule of thumb that forwards generally take about 200 games to find their stride and find consistency at the NHL level (interestingly enough, Z-Bad is currently at exactly 200). So far he has made modest but marked improvements every season in the league, in both points and corsi (and even gone back and shown he can be a dominant player at the AHL level at just 20 after his poor first stint there), and even despite struggling adjusting to playing center at times, he showed that he can handle it, continuing to increase his point totals playing tougher minutes (high offensive zone starts, but one of the highest qual-comps on the team) and he was even 50+% on faceoffs over the last couple months of the year. Consistency was the only real issue; here is a breakdown of Zibanejad's season into parcels:

          0 points in 8 games
          6 points in 13 games
          11 points in 9 games
          1 point in 8 games
          8 points in 8 games
          0 points in 4 games
          11 points in 12 games
          6 points in 8 games
          3 points in 10 games

          A number of fairly lengthy stretches of pretty formidable offense. 200 games is of course just an average/estimate and not an exact science, but he's also entering his fourth year, and still just 22. As he continues to get stronger and more explosive, he'll become more confident in his ability to produce offense consistently.

          Forget 60 points, I expect 30+ goals and 70+ points from Zibanejad this year.


          • #6
            This is an amazing analysis, which has become pretty common with your posts :notworthy:

            For my part, and this probably a very unpopular opinion, I found Turris was better than Zibanejad last season and at times I honestly thought Pageau played better too. Of course we cannot ignore Zibanejad's harder deployments; he played against tougher competition than both Turris and Pageau did. However, ZBad also had the higher percentage of his starts in the offensive zone in comparison to Turris and Pageau. It was actually Pageau who started the fewest of his shifts in the offensive zone, and he ended up with the highest percentage of offensive zone finishes among the three, which is probably surprising to most. Here's where O%/D% and QOC run into a problem though; when their results are the inverse of each other as is so often the case, how can you determine to what effect increased competition will hamper a player's other results? At what point does increased ice time cause a player's non-traditional statistical metrics to regress rather than inflate?

            Zibanejad was definitely better offensively and physically last season than he was the year before, but he didn't seem to be shooting quite as often and he wasn't getting back as far on defense either. Although, this could be from playing a different role, or from coaching differences between MacLean and Cameron. One thing is certain - he looks primed for a 4th-year breakout next season, and it will be exciting to watch him.

            Just keep your eyes on Pageau too :wink1:


            • #7
              Thanks for the praise man. I usually very much like reading your posts as well.

              First off, I don't disagree about Pageau. He's been on the verge of being NHL-ready for quite a while now, and doesn't have a whole lot left to prove in the AHL. In fact I think Lazar should start the year in the AHL this year to make room for Pageau. Lazar has already proven he can be an effective bottom-six forward at the NHL level, but we drafted him to be more than that. He's not going to get any chances in scoring roles with the big club this year, so I'd say put him in a position to succeed in the AHL and let him try to learn how to score goals at the pro level for a season and then see if he can transfer that to the NHL.

              Zibanejad's drop in shooting I think can be attributed to his move to center. The same thing happened with Galchenyuk when Montreal tried to move him to center, something about the mentality that the center is supposed to be the setup man ir something. Except Galchenyuk at center didn't work out and he was returned to the wing; Zibanejad stuck at center all year and continued to grow into the role throughout the season.

              I read an interview with Bobby Ryan where ge said he thinks Zibanejad is at his best when he comes up the center of the ice with speed, kicks it out to his wingers and then drives the net. That said, he has such a great shot, he needs to find ways to create opportunities for himself to use it more.
              Last edited by matchesmalone; 07-18-2015, 12:45 PM.


              • #8
                We saw that a little when Zib played with Ryan and Hoffman. Both wingers on that line have great shots and Zib can cause a lot of chaos with his speed going to the net.