Two days ago, we implored Derek Stepan to keep acting the fool in his contract stalemate with the New York Rangers. Sadly, it would appear he doesn't read this website. The stalemate is over. Stepan and the Rangers have signed a two-year deal.
Here's hoping they still have a "Clean Slate. Grab It!" shirt in Stepan's size, or if they've opened up the "Doghouse. Play your way out of it!" barrel.
The deal pays Stepan $6.15M, according to Larry Brooks, over two years, good for a cap hit of $3.075 per year. It's more than Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan got on their second contracts, which paid $1.85M and $2.3M, respectively, but with reports that Stepan was asking for $3.5 and the Rangers were unwilling to go any higher than $3.2, this one looks like a win for New York.
Which is amazing, considering the way Sather spoke down to Stepan earlier this week. A reminder:
"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.… "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."
Maybe this is the petulant child in me, but that would have been enough for me to hold out at least a few more days. Instead, it seems to have gotten through to Stepan, who came down off his ask and signed immediately.
This all seems to underscore the relative unfairness of these second contracts, where the players have no leverage save the threat of an offer sheet, but those have been quietly phased out by the league's general managers. The result: you can bully and harangue your young players into doing whatever you say! It's a pretty sweet deal for GMs, if you ask me.
On the bright side for Stepan, he gets to rejoin his teammates and stop trying to get back up to speed skating with the Wisconsin Badgers. Plus, he gets to leave Wisconsin for New York, which is the dream of every Wisconsinite.
Stepan will join the Rangers in New York tomorrow.