FLASHBACK: Sather’s Tactics Ends Stepan’s Holdout
Derek Stepan has officially ended his holdout! The deal, which is a bridge contract for two years at an AAV of 3.075M is perfect for the Cap strapped Rangers. However, it was only several days ago when everyone thought this might last forever. On Monday 9/23, MSG aired an interview conducted by John Giannone with GM Glen Slather in Banff, Alberta. What came out of that sparked writers to pound away at their keyboards and send Blueshirt Nation into a panic.
“I don’t think Derek is going to let this thing linger that long. I don’t think he is a big enough fool to think that he will sit out the year and it will do any good. He is in a gap contract and every one of our players has signed a gap contract… I find it frustrating that some teams are in a hurry to sign these guys to big contracts. I think it’s because the owners or managers panic and it’s unfortunate that he has listened to his agent and decided that. He is going to get paid but it isn’t today. I hope he gets wiser because every day he misses is a big deal. We have offered him a very good deal, when he turned down our qualifying offer, we have stuck with that. He has to start smelling the roses and figure out what is going on, I hope he does.”
Derek Stepan obviously wised up just 3 days later! Or maybe his agent did? You see, Glen has been in this business a long, long time and although he sounded like an angry old man, he was calculated. The statement was a direct message to Matt Oates (Stepan’s agent) to wise up and stop the game. Disregard Larry Brooks stating that Derek was doing this on his own and was instructing his agent. They were in it together. Finally, in one shrewd move, Slats painted the Stepan camp as “foolish”, not greedy. He led the fanbase to that conclusion.
In an instant, it became a public campaign and the Stepan camp flinched. How could they not? They never had any leverage in this situation and it didn’t help that 2 young stars in Toronto signed similar gap contracts (Kadri and Franson). The Rangers utilized the CBA that the NHLPA just signed to their advantage, and Derek Stepan will do exactly the same thing in 2 years!
On the brighter side, this is water under the bridge for both sides. Don’t believe me? Wait till Derek’s comments start rolling in and he is stating how excited he is to get back to work! This move will certainly get the Rangers moving in the right direction immediately. Brad Richards is certainly not able to center the number one line and now our leading man is back looking to get the job done! Thanks to Glen Sather, sooner than we thought!