Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who was a restricted free agent before last night, agreed to a new two-year contract worth $2.9 million per year and as a result, avoided holding out of training camp.
While training camp gets underway today, New York Rangers restricted free agent Derek Stepan and his agent have chosen to hold out until a new contract agreement between Stepan and Rangers GM Glen Sather can be reached. However, the good news for Rangers fans is that the number of days of Stepan’s holdout may now be numbered because of Kadri.
Both players were in the same position, and Kadri caved and chose the two-year bridge deal with the Maple Leafs. With Stepan wanting a 5-6 year deal for supposedly $5 million per year and Sather wanting to sign him to the same two-year bridge deal for around the same amount Kadri accepted with the Leafs, the ball is now firmly in Sather’s court.
Also, with Stepan having no arbitration rights and no team signing him to an offer sheet, there is really nothing Stepan can do other than agree to Sather’s contract or sit out and not play at all this season. With him being the smart player he is, I really doubt he would choose to do that whether his agent approves or not.
Kadri’s new deal was probably the best news of the day for Sather and Rangers fans alike, as I now expect contract negotiations to go more smoothly than they did before. Look for Stepan to accept a new two-year contract with the Rangers worth around $3 million per year, and for his holdout of training camp to be over soon.