Glen Sather gave an interview to Jason Gregor on the TEAM 1040 in Edmonton. Among other things, he spoke on RFA Derek Stepan:
What we’ve done historically with all the players [coming off entry-level deals] we’ve signed is put them into that gap contract where they have two years. You sign him to a two-year contract. After the first year you then negotiate an extension to that contract. That’s pretty well what we’re going to do with Derek. I’m not going to give him a long-term contract at his stage.
Certainly not all too surprising. I’ve always expected Stepan to sign a two-year deal for around $3 million annually. Stepan, as a RFA coming off his ELC with no arbitration, has little leverage. The Rangers have little cap space currently, so it makes sense that they would get the cap savings while they can. Stepan is four seasons away from unrestricted free agency. After a two-year bridge deal, Stepan would have two RFA years left and would be in a prime spot for an extension that eats four or five UFA years. The cap is likely to increase up over $70 million this summer, so the team will not be under the restraints they are now.
Some other subjects Sather touched on:
– He says it’s not true that some players came to him complaining about Tortorella, and that it’s not something he would allow.
– He does believe that Tortorella’s system inhibited creativity to some extent, and he expects Vigneault to let the players roam a little more.
– He says Richards conditioning was less than ideal because he was a big part of the NHLPA’s negotiating committee.
– He indicated he has had “a lot” of requests for Boyle, but that he’s not anxious to move him.
– He characterized Marc Staal as “100%” and “fully recovered”.