One of the biggest question marks coming into this offseason was Derek Stepan. The fans knew that he was a RFA and the negotiations weren’t going to be easy. Over the course of the summer, Glen Sather and co. were continuously talking to the unsigned forward about his potential contract. Well, now it is September 13, and Stepan has not reported to camp. He is going to hold out until he gets the contract he desires.
However, fans were treated to good news this morning when it was reported to NY Post writer Larry Brooks that Stepan and his agent were willing to discuss terms on a bridge deal, which is normally 1 to 2 years. Matt Oates, Derek’s representative, explained to Brooks that Stepan is deserving of a long-term deal (which we all know) but is willing to take a shorter deal in order to get back to work, via the New York Post:
Derek has put himself in a category with all those guys coming out of Entry Level who received long-term contracts,” he said. “He’s earned that, but we have never said that we wouldn’t explore a short-term deal, either. We’re just looking for a deal that will reflect his performance. I think it’s beneficial for the Rangers to lock him up long-term, but if that’s not possible at this time, we’re certainly willing to engage management on a short-term deal in order to get this done and get Derek on the ice.
Brooks writes that the Rangers are believed to have offered a two-year deal worth somewhere in the range of $2.5 and $2.7 million per year.
Sportsnet has just reported that the two sides are still very much apart in terms of dollars, but there is dialogue, which is better than not talking at all. Here is what Sather had to say about the discussions:
We all like Derek and want him here, but I’ve told him that his agent is being unrealistic. We’re just not close at this point. When you look at the CBA, without (arbitration) rights, he’s going to get a ‘gap’ deal. That’s the way it is. It’s silly for him to miss camp at his age.
Keep up with the updates and follow me on twitter for more info on the situation.