New York Rangers center Derek Stepan and the Rangers organization are set to head to arbitration this coming Monday, July 27 with both sides still a ways apart on a new deal.
The Rangers are known for not letting their players get to the actual hearing as history has shown. Brandon Dubinsky and Chris Kreider both struck deals on the morning of their hearings while Derick Brassard closed a deal the eve of his hearing.
General Manager Jeff Gorton and his front office submitted a deal worth $5.2 million while Stepan is requesting $7.25 million. With not much cap space left and only one player to sign, the Rangers are believed to have offered Stepan a 6 year deal worth between $6.5 and $6.75 million (which is all the cap space that if left). However, Stepan wants a 7 year deal worth $7.5 million.
Unfortunately, it seems as if both sides are going to come to a resolution before Monday. While Stepan is too valuable to walk from the franchise, he is not worth the $7.25 million that he is seeking. During the hearing both sides will more than likely come to a one or two year deal worth anywhere from $5.5 to $6.5 million.
With arbitration, Stepan will be awarded a 1 or 2 year contract and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2 years. If he was smart, Stepan would secure his future now and come to a long term deal just like Mats Zuccarello and Marc Staal in order to maintain the core of the team.
This will be the first big test for the newly appointed General Manager. Stepan is a key component to this team long term. Hopefully Stepan will come to his senses and take a long term deal to protect his future here on Broadway. Fans have seen players price themselves out of a team and with while Glen Sather held the reigns, he let players walk due to this.
More than likely Stepan will take a long term deal before arbitration, but we can never be too sure. Hopefully by the end of tomorrow, Derek Stepan will have his name in lights on Broadway for year to come.