Yesterday, we saw the news that the New Jersey Devils signed Adam Henrique to a 6 year, $24 million deal, which will pay him $4 million annually. This has sparked some unnecessary controversy by Ranger fans as we still sit and wait for Derek Stepan to get signed.
Hold on, slow yourself down, listen to the new Eminem single “Berzerk”, and breathe. It’s going to be ok. Adam Henrique will continue to decline as he has no one really to play with as both Parise and Kovalchuk have bolted away from the Devils. He’ll be the teams second or third line center at best. Because you have Zajac, and Zubrus who are better than he is. Lou resigned Henrique because he’s young and the team wants to grow around him. $24 million seems like a lot for someone who was only projected in an 82 game season to finish with 35-40 points. That is not for the money. As we all know Stepan was on pace for a 75-80 point season last year, and he has improved year in and year out.
Does this piss Stepan off? Probably, but don’t be so sure. Sather has stated that he gives bridge deals to all his younger players, which is true before signing them up long term. He doesn’t want to be in a situation where he signs a young player long term, after a good season for him to only falter and slow down in production. Not saying Stepan will do that, but, Sather rather be safe than sorry.
Stepan, will more than likely center Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan when they return from injury, or we could see him reunite with Rick Nash and Chris Kreider, something that former Ranger coach John Tortorella tinkered with during the second round series with Boston. Either way, we saw no matter who he is with, Stepan makes anyone better due to his vision on the ice, and his play making ability.
I’m not worried about Stepan not getting signed yet. I was originally in fear of an offer sheet. But that has yet to happen, and I don’t magically see it happening from now up to training camp. Like staff writer Matthew Josephs said Sunday, Derek Stepan will get signed. There’s no reason to worry, and there is no reason for Stepan to be angry at Henrique’s contract. In the end the Devils might be the one eating that deal.
Time will tell on both sides, but it’s not looking good, if he continues to produce at the level he did during his sophomore season.