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Report: Contract talks stall between Rangers, Stepan

Jul 16, 2013, 8:42 PM EDT

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By keeping Brad Richards in the fold, the New York Rangers basically decided to stay out of the free agent market this summer. They also made retaining some key players of their own that much tougher.

The most important name still unsigned is Derek Stepan, who is a restricted free agent without salary arbitration rights. The New York Post reports that the 23-year-old and his team haven’t made progress in their discussions lately. In fact, the haggling could even stretch out into September (possibly even training camp).

The Rangers also face the prospect of Mats Zuccarello going to arbitration. The Post reports that the 26-year-old forward wants between $1.5 and $2 million while the Rangers are offering “considerably less than that.” With just 67 NHL games under his belt, the 26-year-old winger could represent an interesting case if he gets to that process.

While IR slotting might buy GM Glen Sather a little more breathing room, Cap Geek estimates that the Rangers have about $3.3 million in cap space right now.

One could argue that Stepan deserves that much alone after scoring 44 points in 48 games in 2013 and becoming either the team’s No. 1 center or 1a/1b with Richards.

With new CBA rules prohibiting a team from walking away from any arbitration award under $3.5 million, Sather might need to make a trade or two before the offseason is over for all of this to work.

  1. jimw81 - Jul 16, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    i wonder if a team will offer sheet Stepan at this point.

    • kevbelz - Jul 16, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      The Oilers will probably offer him 6 million.. because that’s how they play.

      • packerswin96 - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:46 PM

        He is worth that at least, especially on a long term deal. The Rangers best player and they don’t want to pay him?

      • jimw81 - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:15 AM

        i was hinting the team across the river.

  2. 19to77 - Jul 16, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Oh. So THAT’S why they needed to buy out Brad Richards. Jeez, now I get why so many Ranger fans didn’t want to give him the year to rebound…

  3. DED - Jul 16, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    With McDonagh receiving $4.7 million, he’s gotta be asking for at least $4 million, right?

    They would’ve been ok if they didn’t sign Pouliot ($1.3 million), Moore ($1 million), Falk ($975,000), and Johnson ($600,000). That’s about $3.9 million right there. Add that to the $3.3 million they have and that would’ve been a cushy $7.2 million.

    Asham ($1 million) and Powe ($1.06 million) have been put on waivers but no one picked them up so their contracts are still on the books. It’s been stated that Falk and Johnson won’t make the team and will be sent to Hartford so the team will pick up money there.

    All this mess was why I suggested that the Rangers would trade Del Zotto to someone for a draft pick (Here come the thumbs down) and make due with a cheaper defenseman. Most Ranger fans don’t want to see that happen but Sather’s in a bind.

    So this pretty much guarantees JT Miller and McIlrath stay in the AHL, no?

    • barkar942 - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:13 PM

      Mr. DelZ would be a prized pick up for many teams, and would clear the rest of the moneys necessary to sign Stepan and Zuchs, whom I would prefer the Rangers to keep. I agree, DED, DelZ should be the piece to go.

    • theuncritic - Jul 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Falk is Eminger/Gilroy’s replacement. Basically, a #7 Defender. Johnson is just AHL depth at that point.
      Moore I thought for sure was to be Boyle’s replacement (not that I want that) but it seems as though we’re content on having both. Even Pouliot seemed like the Zuccarello replacement (once again, I hope not). Most are injury depth though, due to our pulling up of only toughguys late last year (Haley, Asham, Newbery).

      You got to remember that #1, every team including the Rangers is allowed to go 10% over the Cap during the offseason. And #2, once the season comes nearer, Asham and Powe will be sent down to the AHL relieving about $1.5 million of their combined $2.06 million hit. That $1.5 mil I believe is all for Zuccs.
      Larry Brooks needs to shut his mouth, never has Zuccs wanted $2 mil a season, nor has he wanted close to that. Mats should be getting something around $1.2-1.6 mil. I wouldn’t expect anything more than a 2 year deal either considering Sather doesn’t like giving long contracts to “unproven” players.

      Since the beginning of last season, my friend and I have been saying trade Del Zotto, as well. He’s not improving well enough to be deserving of a long time renewal. His defensive skills have never gotten there and is still making rookie mistakes his third season in. He became so bad that he was a liability for Girardi to manage. In the playoffs, Girardi would have to correct to make up for a MDZ mistake and usually that would end up in lack of coverage and then possibly a goal. He’s been training 3 years to be the leader of our Power Play and hasn’t amounted to much. I definitely say jump the train before you know it derails. Trade him for his value that he has now, because it will only go down. Even if he does play hard and well this year, congrats, its a contract year, at that point you just convinced me you’re in it for the money. In retrospect, I’m actually glad Sather refused to give him a long contract last time and only gave him 2 years.

      Next offseason is HUGE for the Rangers. Only six Rangers are officially on the roster for next season, as of right now. Everyone else is a FA either Restricted or Unrestricted.

      Stepan will be signed, I’m not worried about it. He’ll make somewhere around $3.5 mil, 4 is nuts in this market. There have been threats of offer sheets, but there’s threats all the time. GM’s would literally blackball any GM that did that (offer ridiculous Offer Sheets to make it difficult for that team to sign said player).

      As for Miller and McIlrath, both have decent chances. There’s still the strong possibility that Boyle could get traded, I’m leaning towards and thinking Pyatt would be the better option to offload. Completely useless he was. Once one of them moves, the pieces will fall better into place. Miller has a better shot than McIlrath, tho. If you think about it, at full health, we have:
      Staal – McDonagh, Girardi – MDZ, Stralman – Moore
      All being pretty solid. Depending on when Marc comes back and if we do move MDZ, it could be hard to find McIlrath a spot, especially considering Falk is a very good #7 to have. (Better than Eminger and Gilroy, that’s for sure) It could wait until two season from now though, after most of the contracts expire.

  4. tbbolts91 - Jul 16, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Report: Contract talks *Staal* between Rangers, Stepan

    That’s the last time I ever make a pun

    • barkar942 - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:16 PM

      That “pun” would be better if it were Carolina and say something like “Management “STAALS” while negotiating with their players”.
      No, yours was better. LOL!

  5. 19to77 - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    And it looks to get worse next year. The whole friggin’ team is up for new contracts next summer. Girardi, Callahan, Brassard, Boyle, MDZ, FOURTEEN skaters total… and Lundqvist, whose contract expectations will be huge. Yeah, some guys will be let go. Others, however, will get raises – some of them big ones. Gonna be a busy, busy year in New York.

    • packerswin96 - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      If you are a Ranger fan, do you not wish that you had a GM that had a clue as to what he was doing?

      • 19to77 - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:18 AM

        I’m not, but it pains me to see any team suffer due to GM mismanagement. I’m an Avs fan. Believe me, I have stories. Sherman has been an unmitigated disaster. Sakic and Roy in the management have given me hope I haven’t had since they were in their prime as players. We’ve had some pretty dismal years recently.

  6. homerx - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:14 AM

    The Richard debacle will destroy this team for many years to come. The wheels are already falling off. Can contracts be renegotiated in the NHL like some players do in the HFL? Maybe Sather should as Richards to swap wallets with Stepan so things are a little more in-line.

    • homerx - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:15 AM

      Sorry, fat fingers this morning; that’s Richards and NFL, not HFL.

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