According to Larry Brooks at the New York Post, there is no progress whatsoever toward resolving the negotiating impasse between the Rangers and Derek Stepan, with a pair of sources indicating the parties’ positions have hardened.
...well that's not exactly what I wanted to hear as the Rangers prepare to head out to Western Canada for the remainder of training camp.
...i've said it before, but with how well guys like Brassard, Moore and Lindberg have been playing at center in the preseason you wonder if Stepan is even guaranteed a spot when he signs.
...this has gotten past the point of stupid. I'm beyond convinced that when Stepan finally does re-sign, he'll be so far behind, he'll be playing catch-up all season. And for a guy who the Rangers are going to rely on for consistent offense, that's not good.
I don't blame Stepan at all here, and I doubt his teammates do either. They know this is a business as much as anyone. Step is a good kid and isn't doing anything that any other player wouldn't do in the same situation.
Stepan was our best skater last year, hands down. And Sather wants to pay him maybe a little more than Carl Hagelin.
Are you kidding me Kevin, Stepan is by far the best center the Rangers have. There is no way Brassard, Moore or Linberg can challenge him. Sather should be put in chains and dumped in the Hudson river for the injustice he is doing for that poor guy. I immensely despise that cigar smoking arrogant SUN OF A BITCH!!!!!!!!!
Can they buy him out after the season starts? I thought the amnesty only applied between seasons. And Boyle still has a shot at 3rd line center too, with Moore as your fourth. Can't see how Lindberg cracks that unless they unload Boyle. Btw, the fact that the Rangers are cap-constrained vis-a-vis Stepan is purely because of the perplexing decision to keep Richards in the first place.
This is starting to annoy me. He needs to look at the whole picture with the team and cap reality. He has followed SOP as far as his fellow players and the league are concerned and needs to get his best offer, otherwise he's hurting his team. The kid's 23, I like the bridge contract at his age and as well a low ball contract. Keeps the young players hungry. Keep developing and you will make a sh*tload my friend. If anything the Rangers are hurting themselves by not locking him now to a long term
Whenever Stepan signs he will waltz right back into that top line position playing with Nash and another winger (probably Kreider). I really hope it is soon... we are willing to give 100 million dollars to Richards to be our main center, but we cant give "Bad Knees" Brad. Also every day he misses is hurting his chances to make the US olympic team, which I know us Rangers fans might be happy about, but I am sure he is not.
For anyone that thinks we will be fine at center ice without Stepan, here's what awaits you:
Brassard - Looks like finally playing like 1st round pick but let's see him do it over the course of a full year.
Richards - 90% of Rangers fans wanted him gone and said he's in steep decline.
Boyle - Minimal offensive talent. Fluke 20 goal season. 4th line center at best
Moore - Avg of 10 goals/season. 4th line center
Lindberg - NHL rookie with loads of talent. For those that think he can step into Stepan's shoes let me remind you how difficult it's been for Kreider and Miller to perform at this level. Don't give me he's played in the Swedish league. I'll argue he needs to still get used to the smaller rink surface.
If anyone here is comfortable with this then you're being hypocritical b/c it's basically the same lineup up the middle we had last year when we started with Richards, Stepan, Boyle and Halpern.
Let's keep telling ourselves that if Stepan doesn't get a deal that we're pretty decent down the middle. Let's be real here. Looking at last season and this pre-season, Richie is still an unknown, Brassard had a solid second half and solid pre-season, Moore is proving to be valuable, Boyle we still really don't know, and Lindberg is still a rookie who has no NHL regular game experience. There's far too many questions marks for me to feel comfortable here. I think it's outrageous to suggest Step isn't "guaranteed a spot." We've been saying all off-season Step is our number one guy, now just because a couple of guys are playing decent in meaningless games for most Step is expendable? I can't be the only one confused by this logic.
Touched on below, but if Step does come back, with the way Brassard is looking, where does Richards fit? Short answer: Nowhere.
Come on guys, let's not get all hasty. Sure, Step is not endearing himself to the fan base right now, but I'm sure his teammates are not going to ostracize him when he returns, cause frankly his demands aren't that extreme and the other players know it's business. Dubi held out, and by all accounts was loved by his teammates (Torts held the grudge if anyone did, but that might have been more about his play, not his contract)
The guy is a proven, legit, young, 2nd line NHL center (and the NYR 1st line center last year) for 3.5-4m per? That's not exactly insane numbers we're talking about. If he was asking for 5-6m per, then yes, let him hold out til he's ready to retire.
And to suggest that he could lose his place on this team because of the preseason play of our centers? If memory serves me correctly, at the end of last season, there were a LOT of people on these boards calling to buyout Richie and trade Boyle. (and for legitimate reasons based on their poor play) With that, sure Brass looks strong, but then we've got Dominic Moore and Oscar Lindberg? I like Dom, but he's a 4th line center, and Lindberg looks promising, but he's a rookie who's not even on the team yet. It's like saying, trade DelZ cause we have McIlrath waiting in the wings. (and as we saw last night, that wouldn't have worked out too well)
A deal will get done and Step will be fine and the NYR will be fine, and eventually, the fan base will forget about it as long as Step starts putting up points.
I do however believe that it will take time for Step to get into the swing of things if he misses all of preseason. But I am confident that Step is a pro and has the talent to adjust quickly. I'm confident he will not be the reincarnate of Dubinsky.
I have to blame Stepan's side here. What a shame too...one of our best goal scorers and playmakers on the NYR. Maybe the smartest player on the team. Very likeable player...always smiling. Awesome season last year and still has tons of upside!! What a f'n shame. And if anyone here things our roster is so deep at center that we don't need Stepan, think again. He's our #1 center, plain and simple.
Getting really irritated with the Stepan camp. Matt Oates is trying to squeeze like 4 million out of Sather, it isn't going to happen. And honestly (outside the obvious enhanced performances) I really hope Brassard keeps playing incredibly well while they other centers step up too like D. Moore to pressure him to getting his deal done. This is getting stupid now.
I understand that business is business, but this is also a team game and Stepan is not endearing himself to his teammates or to fans. I think his moderate success has gone to his head. I agree with BuckarooClub.
If Brassard keeps playing like he did last night, Slats offers to Step are gonna start going down. The kid needs to save as much face as he can, gets signed and start working on making us forget about this mess.
Richards must be ecstatic. The longer Step holds out, the better chance Richie has of playing with Nash.
There's stupidity and then there's this. I don't know if it's his agent or family but whoever is guiding Stepan right now should be ashamed of themselves. At this point, I'm not only convinced he's going to miss actual games (which will be the first NHL games he's missed), but when he does play, it won't be for the Rangers. Good thing we have a bunch of decent to good centers so don't need him anymore cause he's basically ruined all good will he created between him and team last year.
@FREE LINDBERG He will not miss the US Olympic team. Trust me on this. Those guys are savvy hockey minds not morons like Sather.
@TruBluEsp Well put, I totally agree with you.
@JoshKaye he will waltz into the top center spot
@rangersfan Best case scenario for Brad is 3rd line center, with Boyle at wing, and either either D Moore or Lindberg go to the wing, or one of them goes to Hartford. Or Boyle is traded. Brad has an NMC, and they wouldnt risk him getting hurt in Hartford anyway. He's either playing, or he's in the press box counting down the days until July 2014 when he can play anywhere but here extremely cheaply.
His only other option is to build such an amazing chemistry with Nash while Step is MIA, that AV wouldn't dare break the two up.
It makes me wonder why instead of, or in addition to, the compliance buyouts with the new CBA, owners didn't ask for the ability to renegotiate contracts with higher paid players.
@rangersfan After two weeks he will be on a bus to Hartford or in the press box waiting to get bought out. If AV means what he says, guarantee Lindberg would outplay him for the 3rd center position, seeing as he already lost the second line position to Brassard
@shoot_the_goalie Great points. Honestly, I speaking with my emotions rather than logic on this. Logic says of course he will be back but he's one my favs and I'm pissed lol. As for his teammates, they will definitely welcome him with open arms - maybe a couple of comments here and there but they want him back just as much as fans do. I'm just worried how AV feels since he's making a first impression here and it's not a good one.
@FireSather Agree. Center play in two pre-season games means absolutely nothing. Anyone who thinks this team can get by without him simply because some of these prospects and existing centers have been playing well throughout training camp are tripping. Both sides need to quit posturing and get a deal done ASAP before it gets uglier. Sather needs to recognize what he has in Stepan, and be fair here. Enough is enough. Starting to feel like egos are involved now. No good.
@BuckarooClub Never expected this from him. Always seemed like a team player.
@Wallace1 I think everyone who plays center for the team is ecstatic. Richie and Brassard get to be 1-2, Boyle probably gets to stay with team even if it's on wing and Lindberg actually has a chance to remain in NY.
@Wallace1 Good point.
@Melissa (blknblueshirts) No way he's going to end up anywhere but the Rangers. That would be cause for a revolt.
@johnnyb3910 Problem is he just doesn't fit that role. He's not a bottom-six forward. You need different things from those guys as you know. Unless AV is planning on having 3 lines of offense, which if you have the players to do it I'm all in favor of, but I just don't see this team being that deep.
@Melissa (blknblueshirts) @shoot_the_goalie I hear ya. We all get emotional cause as fans, we're invested with the team. Players come and go, but our loyalties are always with the team first, and we want what's best for the team to be the top priority. In this case, we want Stepan playing now.
On the other hand, players are invested in themselves, their families, and therefor their contracts - above the team, and honestly, it's not selfish imho if their demands are not outrageous/hamstrings the organization.
And regardless of what type of job you have and how much money you make, you want to be paid what you think you are worth. Just cause it's in the multi-millions doesn't change that fact.
If Step gets what he wants though, I'm sure there will be some teammate dinners on him! (then again, seems like they play credit card roulette for those - poor Woywitka!)
@KevinDeLury @BuckarooClub That's nonsense Kev. Maybe in Candyland we can expect players to drop a mil or two off their requests for the honor and privilege of playing for the NYR. Let's not forget how quickly guys that gave their all for a team, like Leetch, are traded without hesitation when they are no longer seen as productive. Stepan is doing what he has to do in this situation, which is extract the most money possible for his next contract. Sather is doing what he has to do in this situation, which is pay Step as little as possible for his next contract. It's a possible. To claim that he's not a team player because he wants the money that he believes he deserves is nonsense. Whether or not he actually deserves it is questionable. He was easily our best center last year. He and his agent have leverage, whether we like it or not. We as fans are very quick to judge a player's loyalty when he doesn't take a pay cut. It's wrong.
@KevinDeLury You really think they keep him after all of this? Maybe I'm wrong and he plays a few games but I would be shocked if he is here long term after all this. Trust me, I don't want him gone - he is (was, yes I'm mad lol) one of my favorite players on the team - but this has gotten ugly and that never ends well.
@rangersfan @johnnyb3910 I don't know that AV is going to employ the typical 1-4 offense, offense, checking, grit formula. Think about our wingers based on what we've seen in camp: Nash, Kreider, Zucc, and Pouliot are all playing on "top 2" line combinations, and we're still missing Hagelin and Cally. When Step shows up, we've basically got the makings of 3 scoring lines and no checking line. You could make Pouliot/Boyle/Cally to match other teams top lines and then build the other two around what's left, I guess, in which case you're right, Brad would be S.O.L.
@shoot_the_goalie Completely agree and don't think Stepan's requests (if most recent numbers are accurate) are out of line at all. But at this point, he needs to be in camp. Thinking about financial future is important but he won't have any of one if he doesn't think of his playing future soon, know what I mean?
@Melissa (blknblueshirts) @KevinDeLury Granted its only been two preseason games and a week of practice, but I'm certainly more receptive to the offer sheet scenario now that I've seen our back-up plan. Would hate for it to be from the Islanders, but the other teams that could afford it at this point could be giving us back some potentially high draft picks.