Mika Zibanejad spoke on a conference call with the media this afternoon and said:
- On Stepan being traded and his role, "seeing Derek being traded was a little bit of an alert to me that I might get a chance to play a bigger role. As a player you always want to more responsibility and a bigger role. It's something that I am working really hard to make sure that I take advantage of the chance that I am getting."
- On not going to arbitration, "it's something that we were hoping would happen, just like it did. We were sitting in the room and Jeff and my agent were negotiating basically until the last hour. I am super happy that the deal got done and super happy to be staying in New York for the next five years and I am just really really looking for to next season."
- On being the number one center, "you always want to improve and develop and there has always been moments where you feel you can take your game to the next level and that is what I am working on in the summer, doing all the things that I can do to prepare myself for this opportunity and I don't think there is a single guy out there that would say no to an opportunity like this. I'm super, super happy and excited for the season. You always want to improve and be better than last season. I'm super pumped and excited for this upcoming season."
- On him and Hayes being the top two, "Hayes had a great year last year, great center, very skilled and he can score. He's a really good center and it will be a fun challenge to step into this season with him and obviously try to help each other as much as we can and push each other to be better. I'm just super, super excited right now."
- On the team going into next year, "I'm sad to see Antti and Derek go, you never want to see teammates leave but that is part of the business. Happy with the addition of Shattenkirk and just super excited. As a group we were disappointed with how the season ended last year and felt we had a good group and good team to go further. I'm super excited and proud of our team and our chances to do better this year."
- On playing in New York, "I loved it. It's the same but it's different in a few ways. People talking about how it is and I tried to prepare myself mentally how to play in NY and in front of the fans and Broadway. It was as I expected and prepared for. I loved it. I feel like I am repeating myself so much, I'm so excited to be back and to have this deal done."