Sep 19, 2013, 1:28 PM EDT
It appears Derek Stepan‘s contract dispute with the Rangers will spill into the regular season.
Stepan, New York’s leading scorer last year, is “unlikely” to be on the team’s roster when it opens in Phoenix on Oct. 3, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Here’s more, from the latest installment of the Dreger report:
Sources say that Stepan remains locked on a bridge deal that would pay him $3.5 million per year, while New York would happily sign off on a two-year agreement at $3 million per.
Doesn’t sound like much, but cap teams like the Rangers are crunching every dollar to comply.
While the Rangers see a great future in Stepan, they also like their depth up the middle with Brad Richards, Derick Brassard, Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore.
It’s not surprising to learn long-term contracts are off the table and only a bridge deal is in play.
New York stood firm on one during negotiations with Michael Del Zotto (which he ultimately signed) and the bridge contract has been popping up more and more lately, a byproduct of the reduced salary cap.
The big difference with Stepan, though, is that he’s looking for $7 million guaranteed.
Of course, Stepan is in a different situation than his fellow RFAs.
At 23, he’s already played three full seasons (or two-and-a-half, depending on how you classify the shortened season) and 37 playoff games. He also projects to be New York’s No. 1 center this year, regardless of how much the club likes its depth down the middle.
- Bruins sign three — Hayes, Connolly, and DeFazio 11
- Babcock expects Kadri to be ‘an elite player’ 14
- No expansion bid expected from Kansas City 33
- Leafs sign Matthias — one year, $2.3 million 17
- Report: Kopitar, Kings in ‘early stages of negotiations’ for extension 12
- Arbitration filed: Holtby, Nyquist & Stepan highlight list released by NHLPA 13
- Report: Plotnikov paid $500K to get out of KHL contract 14
- Philadelphia signs ’15 first rounder Provorov 12
- Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets 22
- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 25