It might not be Thanksgiving in America, but the New York Rangers are certainly in the spirit of giving.
The club announced on Sunday morning that they had agreed to terms with forward, Mika Zibanejad on an eight-year extension worth an average annual value of $8.25 million.
The details of the deal, such as its salary structure or trade protection, have yet to be determined.
Signing any player nearing their 30's to an eight-year contract will always be a risk, regardless of how good said player is in the present. But Zibanejad appears more likely than most to stay valuable for the bulk of that term.
The 28-year-old is a bonafide first-line centre in a league that lacks an abundance of them, having racked up a near-team-leading 50 points in 56 games last season while logging over 20 minutes per night as New York's most-used forward.
Playing in all situations, Zibanejad is an invaluable cog in the Rangers' emerging attack, putting up an impressive 10 goals on the power play in 2021 to complement an equally admirable 12 goals and 20 assists at even-strength.
For a Rangers team that is about to burst through their contention window, having Zibanejad on board for nearly the next decade is as good an outcome as they can get. While the term might be a tad longer than General Manager Chris Drury might have liked, Zibanejad is a versatile front-line forward playing one of the sport's most coveted positions who's been scoring at a 40-goal pace over the past three seasons and can help out on both the power play and penalty kill.
If he can maintain that level of play for the next five years at $8.25 million, that's some good value.
Such are the risks general managers must make in the NHL's flat-cap world. The Rangers are certainly making one here. But Zibanejad is a better bet than most to reward them.