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Quick Hits: My thoughts after the Derek Stepan signing

derek stepan profile 4-24

My thoughts on Derek Stepan’s new contract, Jeff Gorton, and the team’s future. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Bobby Bevilacqua

Yesterday, we saw Derek Stepan finally re-sign with the Rangers, opting to stay in New York for the next six years. The deal will pay him an average of $6.5 million until he turns 31, which means that he will be an integral part of the Rangers for years to come.

Of course, with every signing or update, I usually have some thoughts and opinions on things. This is a new “series” of articles I will be doing, usually shorter in length, where I’ll discuss my thoughts on the Rangers and what is going on around the league.

If you guys like this type of article, leave feedback in the comments section here, on Twitter (@The_RangerZone), or on The Ranger Zone Facebook page. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers sign Derek Stepan to six year deal

Bobby Bevilacqua

derek stepan power play celebration 3-22

This guy is going to be a Ranger for the next six years. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The last domino has fallen into place and Jeff Gorton can check everything off of his to-do list.

Early this morning, around 9:30 am, The New York Rangers and Jeff Gorton announced that the Rangers had agreed to terms with Derek Stepan on a new long term contract.

The deal was six years in length for $39 million, averaging out to a cap hit of $6.5 million a year. Stepan, just 25 years old, will be a New York Ranger until the age of 31, when he will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.

“Both sides were pretty close to begin with,” said Stepan. “I think both sides are very happy and comfortable with the deal. The whole time, we (both sides) were trying to get a long term deal done. There’s nothing but exciting things to come for us moving forward, it’s a special feeling to be a part of it. We have an exciting group of guys and a group of guys that are ready to take the next step. I can’t be more excited to be a part of a team that I absolutely love!” Read the rest of this entry

The Stepan Situation May Reach Arbiration, and Kevin Hayes is a big reason why

Tim Christian

stepan and hayes 11-9

Almost everyone is saying that the Rangers will come to terms with RFA Derek Stepan before the arbitration date. But will they? There are a lot of factors that say otherwise. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

As we near the date of Derek Stepan’s arbitration hearing, there seems to be much talk centered around “How Much” and for “How Long”, with many folks feeling the Rangers & Stepan will come to a long-term agreement just under the wire.

Indeed, this has generally been the case with the Rangers. The Rangers last allowed a player to reach an arbitration hearing in 2009. Nikolai Zherdev was the player, and the Rangers chose to not pay him the $3.9 million award.  Instead, they let him walk.

While I certainly don’t think Stepan will be allowed to walk, I do think the Rangers may let arbitration run its course and pay him for 1 or 2 years.  I say this because of:

– Kevin Hayes

– The Rangers’ highly paid Defense

– The Rangers’ highly paid Goaltender

–  The Salary Cap Read the rest of this entry

Gorton’s salary cap management leaves much needed wiggle room

Bobby Bevilacqua

jeff gorton and sather

Jeff Gorton should be applauded for his handling of the Rangers’ RFAs this offseason, but he still has some big decisions ahead. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Jeff Gorton and the Rangers have been very busy this week, signing almost all of their restricted free agents to new deals, and leaving valuable cap space open for the future. Gorton signed or re-signed Dylan McIlrath (article HERE), Magnus Hellberg (article HERE), JT Miller and Jesper Fast (article HERE), and Oscar Lindberg and Emerson Etem (article HERE).

What’s even better is that all of the players signed below what was their expected value. Oscar Lindberg, Emerson Etem, Jesper Fast and JT Miller signed for a combined cap hit of just $3.325 million. Now that’s great asset management.

If all of the listed cap hits are right, the Rangers have about $6.925 million left in free space. But that number, believe it or not, is realistically a bit higher. Also assuming that Dylan McIlrath ($600k) doesn’t make the team, and that Jayson Megna ($600k) is an AHL depth player, which is very likely, you can bump the Rangers available cap space to around $8.125 million. That’s a lot more than anyone thought the Rangers would have at this point. Read the rest of this entry

Derek Stepan’s arbitration hearing set for July 27th

Bobby Bevilacqua

derek stepan profile 4-24

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The last news in the Derek Stepan saga has been released, with his arbitration hearing now officially set for July 27th.

This is how it works. Stepan and his agent will say what they think is a fair price, and Jeff Gorton and the Rangers will counter with an offer of their own. Both sides will present why they think their price is fair, and an independent arbitrator will decide what his contract will be. The deals are usually one to two years in length.

If Stepan winds up going to arbitration, it isn’t ideal for the Rangers, but there are some positives. I’d be extremely surprised if the arbitrator granted Stepan a deal worth more than $6.5 million per year. That means that the Rangers could fit him under the cap for the one or two year deal that is allotted. Read the rest of this entry