After signing his five-year contract on Tuesday, Mika Zibanejad talked about how the Rangers traded Derek Stepan and that set off an "alert" that he might get a bigger role.
Zibanejad said that he is working hard this summer to make sure that he takes advantage of the chance that will present itself this season.
He said that he has had moments in his career where he has felt he could bring his game to "the next level" and that is what he has been working on this summer.
Zibanejad said at the end of the season that he wants to be a number one center and that there is an opportunity to fill that role with the Ranger.
Alain Vigneault noted at the end of the season that Zibanejad is at a point in his career where he needs to put things together.
Adam Rotter: The next level for Zibanejad is being the player he was during Game 3 against Ottawa all the time. That night Zibanejad was dominant, showed off all of his skills and provided a glimpse at what could be to come. Consistency though is easier said than done and there are tons of players on the Rangers who have shown they can be dominant but just don't do it enough. The Rangers moved on from a center that had four-years left on his deal, was a career Ranger and was an Alternate captain for different reasons but one of them was to give Mika the opportunity to take the reins.