Those expecting the only headache this offseason being the arbitration hearing for Mats Zuccarello, could be in for quite the surprise.
According to a report by New York Post’s Larry Brooks, he claims that first line center, and RFA Derek Stepan are at a current stalemate in contract negotiations, and that the negotiations could bleed into September, and quite possibly into training camp.
While the cap space really isn’t helping their cause, making it near impossible to give Stepan what he deserves and what he should get, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers gave him a short one year deal with the remaining cap space, only to work out an extension over the course of the season, due to them having more cap space at the beginning of next year.
Though, this actually might cause some animosity between the Rangers and Stepan, I wouldn’t really count on that. Stepan stated during breakup day that he sees himself as a Ranger for a very long time, and would like to end his career with the team.
You had to think that Glen Sather would play hardball with one of his remaining RFAs, you just didn’t expect it to be Stepan. We’ll be following these negotiations closely.