A quick note regarding Glen Sather’s comments on Derek Stepan

September 25, 2013, by

For those that missed it, General Manager Glen Sather had some harsh words for holdout center Derek Stepan. Slats, in a rare moment, said that he doesn’t think [Stepan] is a big enough fool to think that he will sit out the year and it will do any good.” Naturally, that was the line that the media caught on to and ran with. The nugget right after –when Slats states that every player (forward) has signed a gap deal, and that what Stepan will get– is the more important bit. It confirms what we all know, but also puts a line in the sand in the negotiations.

First things first, Slats never called Stepan a fool. He chose his words carefully. Slats is also correct in the bridge deals, not in that every team should offer bridge deals, but in the manner that Slats approaches them. He is consistent. Every non-arbitration forward gets a bridge deal. Every single one. It’s consistency at its finest. Both Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan got paid, Dubinsky likely slightly overpaid, after their bridge deals. Callahan is the captain of the team too, and his bridge deal will likely be less than Stepan’s.

Some call what Slats said a desperation move. I call it a simple candid statement, used to send a message. Everyone else got one, you get one too. Get your head on straight and sign, and we will pay you oodles of money in two years if you continue to perform.

Categories : Business of Hockey


  1. Sally says:

    My husband mentioned last night that if Stepan doesn’t sign by November 1st, he isn’t eligible for the Olympic team. Do you know if this is correct?

  2. howiehockey says:

    The Rangers’ history with RFA’s is that if you play ball with managemnt (on the bridge deals) you eventually will be amply rewarded, if not over-rewarded. If you don’t play ball, eventually
    you will be dealt…
    If Stepan likes and wants to play with the Rangers for a long time he’d better wake up.

  3. Ray says:

    I disagree. It was a dumb statement by Sather and it was not honest either. There is no difference between defensemen and forwards. By chance, the two exception to the bridge deal rule were d-men – so what. The reality is that the Rangers would have given Stepan a longer contract if they could have. It isn’t about principle; it is about the cap this year.

    I also think Sather made the wrong choice. I don’t think McDonagh is the Rangers’ best dman (Staal). But Stepan is the Rangers’ best forward. If Stepan sitting out leads to a Lundqvist departure, Stepan won’t be the big loser.

    • Dave says:

      The market for defensemen is different than the market for forwards. You can’t discount this.

    • Pete says:

      Actually, Nash is the Rangers best forward and even though Step has been a pleasant surprise I’d like to see a full season as a 1C with above average production to start throwing those kinds of accolades around. The kid is good, no doubt, but its consistency that gets a player well paid.

      • Ray says:

        Actually, the idea that Nash is the Rangers’ best forward is merely an opinion (yours among others). The idea that Stepan is the best happens to be my opinion. I will grant that so far your opinion is more widely held. Last year though, Step had better numbers I think PLUS he plays center PLUS he kills penalties.

        • Pete says:

          Step had a line of 18-26-44, while Nash put up 21-21-42 in 4 less game played. I respect your opinion even though I couldn’t disagree more. Stepan might play C and kill penalties but Nash is a game breaker. Dont get me wrong, I like Step, a lot, but he’s still got a little ways to go…

  4. Mikeyyy says:

    Step is good. Not great.

    Still a smallish player that has to put up points to be effective. Being the “best” center on the team is more of an indictment of Richards poor play.

    If he is smart he signs or it’s off to ohio with him.

  5. AD says:

    Stepan has no leverage other than to sit the entire season. He is being offered a good bridge gap deal. He also has not produced a dime during his limited playoff career. Sign the deal, Stepan, prove yourself the next two years, and then get your big fat deal. A humble kid fro Minnesota is now being guided by dim-wit lawyers who call themselves agents.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      In fairness, Stepan was the leading goal scorer for the Rangers in last year’s playoffs. I will grant you that he was invisible in the 2012 playoff run.

      Overall, though, you’re right. Stepan needs to sign the deal and prove he’s worth more. No leverage = sign the contract.

  6. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Would have no problem trading him at the right price..He isn’t a superstar.