New York Rangers restricted free-agent center for this upcoming 2013-14 season, Derek Stepan, is expected to be at training camp when it opens in September regardless if he has a new contract or not.
Whether that is true or not, I don’t know.
What I do know is after yesterday when New Jersey Devils restricted free-agent forward Adam Henrique got a new fat contract for six years and worth $24 million, Stepan is going to want some more money in his pocket by the time his contract negotiations with Rangers GM Glen Sather is over.
Unfortunately for Stepan, that is not going to happen with the Rangers because Sather has said repeatedly and made it pretty clear that he only wants to sign Stepan to a two-year bridge deal.
So Stepan has been on the Rangers for three years, in which he has improved every season, compared to Henrique’s 1 1/2 years with the Devils.
How does that honestly look when Henrique’s team has had a history of money problems and they sign their restricted free agent to a long-term contract while Stepan is said to only get two years from one of the richest teams in the league?
Well in hockey, we all know teams cannot spend money like crazy because there is a salary cap and the Devils obviously have more cap space to work with than the Rangers. You can call it bad timing or bad luck for Stepan but it certainly looks as if Sather is not budging and I believe this will lead to Stepan holding out.
Up until yesterday, I was fairly certain the Rangers were going to reach a deal with their No. 1 center from last season but now I’m not so sure as I once was.
This is all just one man’s opinion though. What’s yours?