Oct 11, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Ottawa Senators centerMika Zibanejad
(93) controls the puck against Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mika Zibanejad has gotten off to a slow start, no points in 8 games has cause for concern. TSN’s Shawn Simpson has had Zibanejad pegged for Binghamton since game 4, calling a certain Jean-Gabriel Pageau as his callup.
With Mika still waiver exempt and currently struggling, maybe sending Mika to Binghamton makes sense for the team and for Mika.
At this point, I don’t think anyone considers Mika a bust or questions his skill. Some however, may question his commitment. Last season we saw Zibanejad cut from the opening day roster, after he came into camp “expecting a spot”. When it was really non waiver exempt player, Stephane Da Costa who outplayed him. Eventually sending Zibanejad on a trip to binghamton.
Thus far, Zibanejad has yet to produce anything offensively. Joining just Jared Cowen, Erik Condra, Patrick Wiercioch, Colin Greening, and Eric Gryba as those who have yet to record a point. Gryba and Zibanejad are the only two who have dressed in all 8 games.
Zibanejad has been given the 2nd line C role all season. Binghamton might not be close to a sure thing yet, but a healthy scratch or decreased role is very likely coming Zibanejad’s way.
Zibanejad has averaged 14:57 of TOI this season, a career high. In being a negative Corsi player all season long, at a 40.5% over a small sample size, it’s easy to see the rough start Zibanejad is having. The negative Corsi number is a first in Zibanejad’s career, other than a 9 game taste in 11-12; Zibanejad has held a CF% over 50 in his two (full) NHL seasons.
Over an 8 game sample size, it’s hard to tell where he can go from here. As a former 6th overall pick, expectations are high for Zibanejad, who at 21 is being handed the 2nd line center role when he may have not earned it in his young career.
I like what Garrioch suggests here, although Zibanejad may not be on his way to Bingo any time soon, a healthy scratch is much more likely. If Zibanejad is scratched it sends him the message without needing to make a roster transaction.
Assuming Zibanejad is scratched it is likely the Sens go with a lineup of Turris – Legwand – Smith – Lazar. Legwand has a scoring past and will likely be in between Michalek and Chiasson. However, it is plausible Lazar is given a 2nd line center role, just to see where he takes it as an offensive player.
One has to think Zibanejad has the message sent to him one way or another. In a worst case scenario for Zibanejad, maybe the Sens look to give someone in bingo a chance; with Zibanejad being sent down.