Archive for Derek Stepan
With Derek Stepan’s new contract it’s a fair assumption that the Rangers have locked up their top two center positions for the foreseeable future. Stepan and Brassard will cost the Rangers a total of $11.5m, but with finances, age, contract situations and production all considered, are the Rangers in a good spot with their top center duo when compared to the better centers around the league?
This post has its flaws; it only looked at teams who had multiple centers amongst the top thirty scoring centers from last year’s regular season. Obviously there are other factors that need to be considered such as injuries, positional flexibility, form over multiple seasons and the development of prospects moving forward. At present, only the Sharks boasted three centers amongst the top thirty scorers at the position although Joe Pavelski played mostly as a winger on Joe Thornton’s line.
A quick overview of the players (and teams) amongst ‘the top thirty’ and the Rangers don’t necessarily have the star power or elite names that many of the other teams who feature can boast. The Rangers don’t have a Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar or Tyler Seguin. What the Rangers do have though are two players with upside, who are under contract together for the next four years and who have both proven themselves in both the regular season and playoffs.
So who’s who in the top thirty?
Derek Stepan signed yesterday, as new GM Jeff Gorton fit the final piece of the offseason puzzle into place. Stepan’s deal came in at six years, $39 million ($6.5 million cap hit). The deal has a full no trade for the first four years, and then a limited no trade for the final two (I believe). Stepan has a no-move clause throughout, meaning he can’t be sent to the AHL.
- This is a solid deal for both sides. There is no doubt that Stepan left money on the table, probably about $300k per year, or $1.8 million total. That’s no small amount. The deal fits under the cap for this year and in the future, and locks up their 1C through age 31. As for Stepan, he ensures he gets at least one more big payday when this contract expires.
- A few folks have issues with the length of the deal, but I don’t quite understand that. If Stepan were 30, then I would understand. But the kid is 25, and this deal locks up his prime years. The decline starts in the mid-30s, not the mid-20s.
The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with RFA center Derek Stepan on a multi-year contract. Per Larry Brooks, it is a six year deal worth $6.5 million per year. This makes Stepan the second highest paid skater on the Rangers (Rick Nash) at just 25 years old. The deal expires when Stepan is 31, so the Rangers are locking up Stepan’s prime years at a relative bargain price. The deal has a no-trade clause for the early years and a no-move clause for the last years.
Stepan put up a career high pace last year, with a line of 16-39-55 in 68 games. Stepan missed the first 14 games of the season with a broken fibula, the first injury of his career that forced him to miss regular season time. When you average that out to 82 games, he was on pace for 19 goals and 66 points.
Just a quick update on the Derek Stepan arbitration process: The Rangers have elected a one-year arbitration award for Stepan. If this goes to arbitration, Stepan will get a one-year deal, meaning he will be an RFA next year as well. This isn’t all that surprising, as it ensures the Rangers get one more crack at a long term deal.
Again, this likely isn’t getting to arbitration. I’m expecting both sides to come to terms this afternoon. The Rangers submitted a $5.2 million offer, while Stepan submitted $7.25 million. Since the numbers are pretty close in arbitration, it’s a fair assumption that both sides are close.
Derek Stepan’s arbitration date is tomorrow, and he will be the talk of Rangerland until the day he signs. So here are some things to expect to hear over the next two days.
1. Everyone will flip out over Stepan’s asking price.
Stepan is asking for $7.25 million in arbitration. Insert rage here.
In reality, Stepan’s asking price is actually reasonable. He’s worth more than that on the open market, but for some reason people have an aversion to signing homegrown players to large contracts. The kid is 25 years old and was on a 66 point pace over a full 82 games. He did this while dragging around a 41-year-old and clearly lost it Martin St. Louis on his line.
2. No one will have an issue with the Rangers’ price.
Four questions for this week’s mailbag. As always, use the mailbag feature on the right to send us questions throughout the week.
Q: What do you think Derek Stepan is worth? What will he actually get?
I had to trim this question down a bit, since the email had about five paragraphs. I think Stepan is worth that $7 million number that seems to scare everyone. If you think about this in percent of cap, that’s 10% of the cap. I certainly think Stepan is worth that. As cap inflation, which is a real thing, rises, then the percent of that hit goes down. It may not go down much, but the alternative is to trade him? For what? This team is in win-now mode for good reason, and Stepan-Brassard-Hayes-Moore is a lot better than Brassard-Hayes-Lindberg-Moore.
In the end, I think he gets $6 million for his last two RFA years, matching what Ryan O’Reilly got in his last two RFA years, then an average of $7 million for the last four years. That averages out to $6.67 million per year. Well worth it for a 25 year old center, and the contract expires when he’s 31 years old.
Much discussion has been had about Derek Stepan and his pending arbitration on July 27. I took a stab at predicting his contract, but that was before the Ryan O’Reilly deal ($7.5m AAV, all UFA years) and Ryan Kesler ($6.875m, all UFA years) were signed. The ROR deal doesn’t help matters at all, especially since Stepan and ROR are almost identical in terms of production and role.
Stepan is the better player than Kesler, but Kesler has name brand value. Kesler’s deal actually helps the Rangers, because he is perceived as the better player, although that is far from the truth nowadays.
I think Stepan gets $6 million for his two remaining RFA years (equal to what ROR got for his final RFA years). I think that gets bumped to an average of $7 million for the UFA years signed, and let’s shoot for four years. That puts Stepan at six years and $40 million, or a $6.67 million cap hit. Just my updated guess.
So what do you think Stepan is worth? Personally, I think he’s worth north of $7 million, which is 10% of the cap. I prefer to look at things in terms of percent of cap, since cap inflation is absolutely real. As the cap increases, Stepan’s deal will count towards less percent of the cap, thus making it a relative bargain. Plus, he’s 25 now, so it’s not like the Rangers are buying his 30-year-old years.
Derek Stepan’s arbitration date has been set for July 27. While it is unlikely that this goes to arbitration, the Rangers and Stepan now have exactly two weeks to get a deal done before that arbitration date. If a deal is not reached, then there will be a one or two year amount given by the arbitrator. The Rangers then have the option of walking away from the awarded amount, making Stepan a free agent. That’s extremely unlikely to happen.
My guess is that this will go to the final hours, and we will probably see a deal during the weekend of July 25/26.
In the most unsurprising move of the offseason thus far, Rangers center Derek Stepan has filed for arbitration. He was the only player –since Carl Hagelin was traded– that was eligible for arbitration on the Rangers. This is just a step in the process, and it is very rare that a player actually goes to arbitration. The only players I can remember getting to that point were Sean Avery and Nik Zherdev.
By filing for arbitration, Stepan will be unable to sign an offer sheet, so this actually protects the Rangers a bit. Players and teams can still negotiate right up until the arbitration hearing, and I expect Stepan to sign his deal before his hearing.
Again, this is part of the process, and is normal for arbitration eligible players.
Happy 4th of July weekend, BSB community! Before we get started, just a quick housekeeping issue: we have our off-season plan contest finalists down to our final three. The finalists have submitted tremendously creative and interesting proposals. The plan is to start unveiling those next week for community voting, however, I didn’t want to bury them at the beginning of a holiday weekend, so you’re stuck with my thoughts.