Zibanejad and Silfverberg

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 ·

With the post season set to begin for the Senators tomorrow night in New York, there is still a lot of buzz amongst the fan base regarding the availability of two of the organization's top prospects. That "buzz" picked up again yesterday when Mika Zibanejad (who turns 19 next week) spent the entire practice skating with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek on the Senators top line. However, the plan was, and is, for the 6th overall pick in the 2011 Draft to head to Binghamton and play in the B-Sens final two games of the season this Friday and Saturday http://senators.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=627322. Yesterday he skated with Spezza and Michalek, this morning he was with Mike Hoffman and Jack Downing.

What happens with Zibanejad next is where it gets interesting. Senators assistant G.M. Tim Murray is sending Director of Player Development Randy Lee along with pro scouts Jim Clark and Rob Murphy to watch Zibanejad play. Murray says it's not about whether or not the young forward can rack of up some points, but he and the brass want to get better handle on his energy level and pace of play. Zibanejad suffered through a tough season in the Swedish Elite League where he battled through an illness and also received a concussion. Sending 3 scouts to watch him play this weekend is all about gauging whether or not it's worth it to at least make him available to Paul Maclean at some point this post season.

If you are concerned about Zibanejad burning up year one of his entry level contract (by playing one more NHL game), don't be. To quote Tim Murray:

"The burning the year here for me doesn't mean anything, he's a top end player that's gonna get his money, he's gonna get his term down the road...but in saying that it is a big decision and you want to be sure that he does bring you that jump, that life and that energy. They're going to keep a close eye on him down there (with Binghamton) and just see where he's at from a physical standpoint."

It should be pointed out that under the terms of the C.B.A, there's a big difference between the 10 game threshold and the one that comes at 40 games. When a junior aged player hits the 10 game mark, year one of his entry level contract burned, but that doesn't put him any closer to unrestricted free agency. That year is burned at the 40 game mark which is the threshold for an accrued NHL season. When players enter the league the clock starts ticking on their wait to becoming a unrestricted by either spending 7 years in the league or hitting their 27th birthday, whichever comes first. In some cases, burning year one of entry level could actually be beneficial. More from Tim Murray:

"Actually by burning the year we get rid of potentially the one year of bonuses that he could make. As I talked to his agent yesterday, neither side is sure who gains by burning the year...He's got 3 years of potentially decent bonus money, you have to assume that he would achieve that in his third year..but there is the potential that he doesn't max out his full earning power by burning a year. That's not a reason we'd do it (play him to burn year 1), I'm just giving you both sides of the story."

Meanwhile, the organization's top prospect is continuing his dominant season in Sweden. Jakob Silfverberg has Brynas up 1-0 in the finals. A series that could end as early as this Sunday, or at the latest April 21st. Tim Murray has been contact with his Silfverberg's agents since the start of the Elite League playoffs:

"We've made it clear we want him here. They're going to do their due diligence and get his release from the national team is what I'm told. When he's done there...he wants to be here. Legitimately, I could see him getting in the line-up. He's a helluva player. It's not like you're putting a kid in the lineup, he's 3 years in the elite league...he's the second youngest MVP (Peter Forsberg) ever...Apart from being in the American League, his development has been outstanding and we believe that he's ready for the next step."

Note: Due to his age, Silfverberg burns year one of his entry level deal this year regardless.

Here is the link for our interview with Tim Murray:


About this blog

Welcome to my Healthy Scratches blog. You can hear Jason York and myself weekdays from 3-6 on Team 1200. I use this blog to expand upon some of the things we talk about on the show, and anything else that really pops into my ample head.