We are into Day 11 of training camp and there appears to be no end in sight for the stalemate between Derek Stepan and the New York Rangers.
Larry Brooks of the NY Post chimes in with more of his unique insight into the situation. He provides a slight update on where New York is willing to compromise to get a deal done.
"And so here we are, closer to the Oct. 3 start of the season in Phoenix than the Sept. 11 start of training camp without an end in sight to the impasse between Stepan and the Rangers, who have offered their presumptive first-line center just under $6M for two seasons and are believed willing to go to approximately $6.4M in order to get the deal done."
If it's true the Rangers are willing to move slightly higher and Stepan is still holding firm at $7 million over two years, then who really is to blame?
Brooks also points out the order in which Glen Sather did business this offseason could be a downfall for the situation both sides are in now:
"True, true, it’s every bit as much about cap space as it is about money — or so Stepan and his representatives have been told — but the Rangers created the issue by saving this one for last while addressing other matters, and, as long as we’re dealing in truths, Sather does have slightly more maneuverability than he suggests."
The season opener is October 3 in Phoenix. Stepan and the Rangers have 11 more days to avoid a nightmare scenario.
– Can you say both sides are at fault here? Absolutely. The Rangers made a choice to keep Brad Richards rather than buying him out and it meant less cap space to work with and the consequences of that. However, Stepan doesn't need to hold so steadfast on an arbitrary $3.5 million when by the 2015-16 he can be making close to $6 million a season when he negotiates a long-term deal next offseason (if he so chooses).
– I do agree with Brooks to an extent (this can't be good). Stepan should've been No. 1 priority this offseason and take care of the rest as they come. However, since Ryan McDonagh and Carl Hagelin could've gone to arbitration whereas Stepan didn't ultimately played as the deciding factor to get everyone else signed first. It's the (ugly) business side for sports, folks.
– I can't see this bleeding into the regular season. And if it does as some hockey pundits i.e. Darren Dreger suggest, then what? We're waiting till November for it to resolve? Do you even entertain the thought of trading Stepan?
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