I’m sure that I’m going to ruffle quite a few feathers with this players inclusion, but it’s a great example for the point I want to make. As many fans remember, Mika Zibanejad was originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators but traded to the New York Rangers along with a second round pick for Derick Brassard and a seventh. At the time of the trade, Zibanejad had just scored a career high with twenty-one goals and thirty assists for a total of fifty-one points.
In a move that was considered at the time as “selling high”, the Sens acquired Brassard who was in his prime at twenty-eight years old and had just put up fifty-eight points that season with New York. He had scored sixty the season prior, so it appeared to be an intriguing trade because Brassard had been so productive in his three seasons there after departing Columbus. This unfortunately wouldn’t be the case, as Brassard never eclipsed forty points in his two seasons in Ottawa before being moved to Pittsburgh.
What did Zibanejad do after being traded? Quite a bit, as he has become the stabilizing force the Rangers desperately needed at center. He has never scored lower than twenty-four goals in his six seasons in New York; scoring thirty in 2018-19 and a robust forty-one in 2019-20. Zibanejad has point produced at a high level (.90 point per game pace in six seasons) while also putting up more than respectable numbers at the dot (50% win percentage). What does all this mean and how does it relate to Stutzle? I’d start by saying be patient if the numbers don’t show up right away. While he has already shown an aptitude for scoring, don’t be disappointed if he stays the same or even regresses slightly next season. Players develop in a myriad of ways, and it’d be a real shame to write off a player before he reaches his full potential; it’s a mistake Ottawa just can’t make again.
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