When players are traded in the NHL, or in any major sports, the real-life implications aren’t often considered. Many professional athletes have wives, children in school, friends, and houses. In the case of Mika Zibanejad, the 23-year-old center didn’t have to worry too much about in terms of the family and children aspect of a trade. What he did have to consider, however, was a new house that he had just moved into a few days prior to his trade to the New York Rangers.
— theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) August 6, 2016
“I’m working on moving that house here,” Zibanejad said when meeting New York media for the first time following the trade. “I don’t know if that’s possible. We’re looking right now for a place.”
It isn’t every day that a young, talented forward like Zibanejad is traded; some players go throughout their entire careers without being traded. For Zibanejad, however, the mixed bag of emotions that came with the news was just another part of his journey. Just one day after the trade, Zibanejad was part of a conference call and mentioned the shock, but excitement involved in a situation like this one.
“It wasn’t anything I counted on,’’ Zibanejad said. “It wasn’t anything I was waiting by my phone to get that phone call. It came as a surprise and kind of shock in the beginning, but once that settled down and I got to just realize to be a part of the New York Rangers organization it was more excitement for me and the family, as well. “
New York will definitely be different for Zibanejad, but the culture change from a team working on a budget in Ottawa to a team with a seemingly bottomless pocket like the Rangers should come as a welcome one. With each season looking like Stanley Cup-or-bust for the Rangers, the added pressure could be exactly what Zibanejad needs to fully reach his potential.