Rangers Roundup: Stepan’s Contract, Zuccarello improving, roster possibilities and more

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Stepan (NYR)

Hey gang! Sorry for the sporadic posts this summer but lots going on for me and the future of the FullTilt Hockey Network. I am working hard to usher in a new era of writers here and at our flagship site that covers the NHL and other leagues (www.FullTiltHockeyNetwork.com). More on that at a later time.

All’s Quiet with Derek Stepan (is that a good thing?)

We all learned recently that the Rangers and Derek Stepan have not had any significant conversations on a contract. The 25 year old center is the top priority this offseason for new GM, Jeff Gorton which was signaled when he dealt Carl Hagelin to make cap space for what everyone anticipates to be a multi year deal upwards of $6M.

[su_quote cite=”Larry Brooks” url=”http://nypost.com/2015/07/11/derek-stepan-rumblings-rangers-yet-to-offer-megadeal/”]…if general manager Jeff Gorton wants to avoid one (arbitration hearing) and keep the Blueblood in a Blueshirt beyond 2017, it likely will take an opening bid of six years at $39 million ($6.5 million per season) just to get the ball rolling. There is no evidence the Rangers are contemplating dealing Stepan in advance of hard bargaining.[/su_quote]

July 27th is “Arbitration Day” for Derek Stepan. Should he get there and receive a hefty award, the Rangers would not be able to trade him for one year. That means, if it negatively impacts their cap and hinders their ability to field a 22 man roster, they may have to explore trading others. As we pointed out, the likely candidates are either Kevin Klein or Keith Yandle.

Or they could walk away like they did in 2009 when Nikolay Zherdev was awarded 3.9M. For the record, there is no way that do that in this situation.

For another take, Spector’s Hockey offered this as well:

[su_quote cite=”Spector’s Hockey” url=”http://spectorshockey.net/updates-on-the-rangers-and-sabres-july-13-2015/”]It would certainly be shocking if the Rangers traded Stepan before his July 27th arbitration hearing. If his case goes to arbitration, it’ll be interesting to see how much he gets on a two-year deal. This could be gamesmanship on the Rangers’ part. Then again, perhaps both sides believe they have plenty of time to hammer out an agreement before then.[/su_quote]

Mats Zuccarello‘s Amazing Recovery

Chris Kreider was at a Rangers youth camp and told Jim Cerney about how well Mats Zuccarello has bounced back. Recently Kreider went to Norway to play in Zuccarello’s charity game and saw first hand how well he was doing. Kreider states in the video below that Zuccarello bounced back in incredible fashion.

Are the Rangers looking to add any additional pieces on the cheap?

The Rangers are very quiet and that’s to be expected. I don’t expect anything until the situation with Derek Stepan is resolved. Once Jim Gorton knows his cap situation moves like signing Curtis Glencross as Larry Brooks suggests will just have to wait.