Stepan to LIkely Miss Start of Camp

According to Larry Brooks at the New York Post, unless there's "an unexpected seismic shift" in contract negotiations between Derek Stepan and the Rangers, the 24-year old center will likely miss the start of training camp tomorrow.

Brooks reiterates that Stepan is believed to be seeking a five- or six-year deal in the neighborhood of $5 million per while the Rangers are believed offering a two-year contract worth between $2.75-and-$3 million a year.

According to Cap Geek, the Rangers have just $2.1 million in cap space, however, the Rangers could easily send Asham and Powe to Hartford to open up additional room. Placing Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin on LTIR is also an option.

…i got to tell you, just seeing where both sides are in the negotiations has me very concerned. They're not even in the same ballpark.

…having said that, negotiations can change on a dime, so this could just as easily be over this afternoon as October. Man it better not leak into October.

Brooks also mentions the unlikely scenario of another NHL team extending an offer sheet in the $5 million per year range to the RFA Stepan. If that scenario does play out Brooks says the Rangers will be forced to trade Brian Boyle ($1.7 million) or perhaps even Derick Brassard ($3.2 million).

…oh Brooksie. You just can't resist throwing in ridiculous trade rumor to sell papers can you. While Boyle would definitely be a candidate to get moved, no way in hell Brassard is going anywhere.

…anyway, Adam Herman assured us yesterday that an offer sheet for Stepan isn't realistic. Right, Adam? Right?

Meanwhile, Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy wonders why the Rangers aren't being criticized for letting this drag on.

…ummm, because Sather has all the leverage and he'd be acting fiscally irresponsible by caving in to Stepan's demands. In fact I'd be all over Sather if he didn't take advantage of the fact that Stepan didn't have arbitration rights. It's the salary cap era baby, got to be smart.

…no doubt Stepan's been good, but he's only been in the league for three years and is far from being an elite player. Sometimes you have to wait to get paid and don't worry he'll get paid. As the Rangers have done in the past, Sather will extend Stepan next season to a lucrative, long term contract (buying a few of his UFA years) when they have more cap room

…although, if Sather would have just bought out Richards this offseason, Stepan would have likely been signed a month ago.

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Kevin

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