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Thread: Derek Stepan Files for Arbitration; $5.2M Offer From NYR, $7.25M Ask from Stepan

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    While I'm in the "let's not overpay derek stepan" boat, I think I'm more in the "let's protect Kevin Hayes for another year or two" boat. Kid had a great first season, but we'd be lying if we said he was any good in the playoffs. I am not so sure we're ready to slot him in as our #2 center just yet for a whole season, so if Stepan is not going to come down from his max money demands, we're going to need to find a replacement for 1C or 2C. Hayes needs at least another year at the 3C spot to grow, at least in my opinion. Perhaps the arbitration deal might be fine for us in this regard, as it lets us reevaluate this problem when Hayes might be a more suitable replacement himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valriera View Post
    While I'm in the "let's not overpay derek stepan" boat, I think I'm more in the "let's protect Kevin Hayes for another year or two" boat. Kid had a great first season, but we'd be lying if we said he was any good in the playoffs. I am not so sure we're ready to slot him in as our #2 center just yet for a whole season, so if Stepan is not going to come down from his max money demands, we're going to need to find a replacement for 1C or 2C. Hayes needs at least another year at the 3C spot to grow, at least in my opinion. Perhaps the arbitration deal might be fine for us in this regard, as it lets us reevaluate this problem when Hayes might be a more suitable replacement himself.
    This is a really good point. What losing Stepan would mean, most likely, is that we are not contenders this coming season. Sure, anything can happen and Hayes could step up to be a #2 or even #1 center this year, but that can not be the expectation and we have to let him get there organically if he's able to. That's why I like a guy like Bozak as part of a return for Stepan. He's good on draws and can be a #2 center, but can slot down to the #3 roll, especially when we now roll three fairly offensive lines. Even finding a 20/20 defensively sound center can be a stop gap #2 if Hayes needs to develop.

    So let Hayes slot where his play dictates, have insurance for that and realize this might have to be a sort of transition year. Saves us some assets at the deadline, assets we need to retain and then let the chips fall where they may.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    This is a really good point. What losing Stepan would mean, most likely, is that we are not contenders this coming season. Sure, anything can happen and Hayes could step up to be a #2 or even #1 center this year, but that can not be the expectation and we have to let him get there organically if he's able to. That's why I like a guy like Bozak as part of a return for Stepan. He's good on draws and can be a #2 center, but can slot down to the #3 roll, especially when we now roll three fairly offensive lines. Even finding a 20/20 defensively sound center can be a stop gap #2 if Hayes needs to develop.

    So let Hayes slot where his play dictates, have insurance for that and realize this might have to be a sort of transition year. Saves us some assets at the deadline, assets we need to retain and then let the chips fall where they may.
    At cost control for any of those roles. Even as a 3C he doesn't hurt your cap much at $4.2M.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    At cost control for any of those roles. Even as a 3C he doesn't hurt your cap much at $4.2M.
    Right. Especially if he's in that 3rd C roll because your #2 (or #1)'s cap hit is like $1M before possible bonuses.

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    I like Stepan, but man, I don't like Stepan at $7M on like a six-year deal at all. The more I think about it, the less I want him around long-term.

    Especially when you consider what a 1B center can get you in a trade with a year left on his deal.

    Though I freely admit, I've got a lot of stock in Kevin Hayes, Inc.
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    There's still no indication of what Stepan and his party are asking for, so until that information comes to light I'm going to hold out hope for a salary that starts with a '6'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    I like Stepan, but man, I don't like Stepan at $7M on like a six-year deal at all. The more I think about it, the less I want him around long-term.

    Especially when you consider what a 1B center can get you in a trade with a year left on his deal.

    Though I freely admit, I've got a lot of stock in Kevin Hayes, Inc.
    Stepan, IMO, is exactly the find of player you want for 6 years. He's durable, he possesses no type of physical skills that would erode with age, and he'll be hitting 31 in the last year of his deal. That's when you walk away, because he'll be Brad Richards 2.0.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Stepan, IMO, is exactly the find of player you want for 6 years. He's durable, he possesses no type of physical skills that would erode with age, and he'll be hitting 31 in the last year of his deal. That's when you walk away, because he'll be Brad Richards 2.0.
    This. The term isn't at issue for me. The cost is. $7.5M (lets assume a match to O'Reilly's deal) won't be an over payment in say year 5, assuming his game rises a little more and then levels off at around 65 - 70 points a year. It is an over payment right now though, where the team is quickly running low on cost controlled core players. In fact, it would necessitate another move right now.

    The Rangers have 8 forwards under contract that are likely to make the team. Stepan at $7.5M would make 9. However, that would leave just $3.3M in cap space to re-sign:

    Miller
    Etem
    Fast

    And leaving no money for a spare forward while carrying Diaz as a 7th defender. It's a largely untenable situation moving over the course of a season where injuries and illnesses are bound to occur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    This. The term isn't at issue for me. The cost is. $7.5M (lets assume a match to O'Reilly's deal) won't be an over payment in say year 5, assuming his game rises a little more and then levels off at around 65 - 70 points a year. It is an over payment right now though, where the team is quickly running low on cost controlled core players. In fact, it would necessitate another move right now.

    The Rangers have 8 forwards under contract that are likely to make the team. Stepan at $7.5M would make 9. However, that would leave just $3.3M in cap space to re-sign:

    Miller
    Etem
    Fast

    And leaving no money for a spare forward while carrying Diaz as a 7th defender. It's a largely untenable situation moving over the course of a season where injuries and illnesses are bound to occur.
    The more I think about it, the less I think that the ROR contract really effects Stepan at all. It's sort of a dooms-dayers POV, which is why Brooks jumped all over it.

    While the players might be comparable, the situations are night and day different, and any arbitrator will take that into consideration. ROR artificially raised his price tag with an offer sheet. Then went from a $6 cap hit to a $7.5 cap hit, becaue Buffalo. That's an increase of 25%. One could argue that doubling his salary—a 100% raise for Stepan—is more than fair.

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    He's also the type of player who locks your center depth in place, preventing much movement at all. On a team already logged by numerous large contracts, most of which have either full No-Move Clauses, No-Trade Clauses or modified No-Trade Clauses. It makes future asset management that much more difficult.

    I worry how Kreider and Hayes will see extensions when the league comes back with another marginal 5% kicker on the cap and Staal, Girardi, Lundqvist, Stepan, Nash, Brassard, etc. eating like 60% of the teams' salary cap every year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    This. The term isn't at issue for me. The cost is. $7.5M (lets assume a match to O'Reilly's deal) won't be an over payment in say year 5, assuming his game rises a little more and then levels off at around 65 - 70 points a year. It is an over payment right now though, where the team is quickly running low on cost controlled core players. In fact, it would necessitate another move right now.

    The Rangers have 8 forwards under contract that are likely to make the team. Stepan at $7.5M would make 9. However, that would leave just $3.3M in cap space to re-sign:

    Miller
    Etem
    Fast


    And leaving no money for a spare forward while carrying Diaz as a 7th defender. It's a largely untenable situation moving over the course of a season where injuries and illnesses are bound to occur.
    None of whom have arbitration rights. All would sign for QO's or sit out. Like Stepan.
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    I really think Gorton needs to find a way to move staal, girardi or boyle. Hell if the return is right IDE even consider McDonough but that might be too much and I don't see it happening. Too much money tied up in 1b type defenders when you consider how this team is lacking in other areas.

    And in the case of Boyle too much money tied up in a borderline 6th defender.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Stepan, IMO, is exactly the find of player you want for 6 years. He's durable, he possesses no type of physical skills that would erode with age, and he'll be hitting 31 in the last year of his deal. That's when you walk away, because he'll be Brad Richards 2.0.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    The more I think about it, the less I think that the ROR contract really effects Stepan at all. It's sort of a dooms-dayers POV, which is why Brooks jumped all over it.

    While the players might be comparable, the situations are night and day different, and any arbitrator will take that into consideration. ROR artificially raised his price tag with an offer sheet. Then went from a $6 cap hit to a $7.5 cap hit, becaue Buffalo. That's an increase of 25%. One could argue that doubling his salary—a 100% raise for Stepan—is more than fair.
    I agree with both of these posts. I don't see Step coming anywhere near the $7M mark. He may start with that as a negotiating start to get to the $6-6.5M, but thats all a part of the process. HE will ask high, Rangers will come in low, and then they will meet in the middle at $6-6.5. No where in history have there been any negotiations where someone said I want this, and the other side just said OK. If he states by asking for what ROR got, we are in good shape, and Im not worried.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    None of whom have arbitration rights. All would sign for QO's or sit out. Like Stepan.
    Very few up and coming players with NHL experience sign 1 year deals for their QO's. Not that it doesn't happen, but it's fairly rare. No, they don't have arbitration rights, but saving a couple $100K now with each of them sets you up for much tougher negotiations later on.

    Why are we here with Stepan now? Because Sather played hard ball with him 2 years ago, giving him a "show me" contract. Now he's shown the Rangers and expects to get paid. There might not have been any other avenue with him the year his contact was up because of other salary commitments. However, sometimes it benefits you, as a team, to give a little more than the bare minimum to a player in order to generate some good will you can bank for the future.

    People wonder why Rangers players rarely take team friendly deals. That hard ball negotiating style from after their ELCs is a reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    Very few up and coming players with NHL experience sign 1 year deals for their QO's. Not that it doesn't happen, but it's fairly rare. No, they don't have arbitration rights, but saving a couple $100K now with each of them sets you up for much tougher negotiations later on.

    Why are we here with Stepan now? Because Sather played hard ball with him 2 years ago, giving him a "show me" contract. Now he's shown the Rangers and expects to get paid. There might not have been any other avenue with him the year his contact was up because of other salary commitments. However, sometimes it benefits you, as a team, to give a little more than the bare minimum to a player in order to generate some good will you can bank for the future.

    People wonder why Rangers players rarely take team friendly deals. That hard ball negotiating style from after their ELCs is a reason.
    Except that not all players get hard-balled. The ones who do are the ones with serious question marks, like Stepan at the time. Who was approaching a Nash/Oshie-like playoff bust moniker.

    Ryan McDonagh skipped the "show me" deal. So did Tyutin. So did Staal. All were D who came into the league a little older, who I believe had arbitration rights, but regardless, were given longer-term extensions because they were models of consistency. Stepan wasn't, unless the consistency you are talking about is "do pretty well in the regular season, win very few face-offs and suck hard in the playoffs".

    At the end of the day, you simply have to play hard-ball with RFA's while you still control their rights (especially before arbitration) in a salary-capped league on a team who regularly spend to the ceiling.
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    He still sux on faceoffs lol. 6 years at $7m? O hell no.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    Very few up and coming players with NHL experience sign 1 year deals for their QO's. Not that it doesn't happen, but it's fairly rare. No, they don't have arbitration rights, but saving a couple $100K now with each of them sets you up for much tougher negotiations later on.

    Why are we here with Stepan now? Because Sather played hard ball with him 2 years ago, giving him a "show me" contract. Now he's shown the Rangers and expects to get paid. There might not have been any other avenue with him the year his contact was up because of other salary commitments. However, sometimes it benefits you, as a team, to give a little more than the bare minimum to a player in order to generate some good will you can bank for the future.

    People wonder why Rangers players rarely take team friendly deals. That hard ball negotiating style from after their ELCs is a reason.
    I think there's a lot of speculation going on here.

    Firstly, "Why are we here with Stepan now", where are we? We don't know what he's asking for. We don't know what the Rangers offered. All we know is that he filed for arbitration, and lots of players do it, and lots of players settle before the hearing.

    It's also a wild assumption that ill will is the reason that players don't take team-friendly deals. Look at Lundqvist. He got paid handsomely in his 2nd contract and then still got market value in his current deal. What ill-will was created? What ill-will was created with Zuke? He took 2 team friendly deals before this one.

    I don't think it's ill-will or hardball at all. Sather has simply shown that he will not overpay players when their costs should be controlled, and he's willing to pay market after the player has earned it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I think there's a lot of speculation going on here.

    Firstly, "Why are we here with Stepan now", where are we? We don't know what he's asking for. We don't know what the Rangers offered. All we know is that he filed for arbitration, and lots of players do it, and lots of players settle before the hearing.

    It's also a wild assumption that ill will is the reason that players don't take team-friendly deals. Look at Lundqvist. He got paid handsomely in his 2nd contract and then still got market value in his current deal. What ill-will was created? What ill-will was created with Zuke? He took 2 team friendly deals before this one.

    I don't think it's ill-will or hardball at all. Sather has simply shown that he will not overpay players when their costs should be controlled, and he's willing to pay market after the player has earned it.
    Hank is an elite superstar. He's a Crosby. An Ovechkin.

    Zuke was an undrafted player who the Rangers took 2 chances on. He owes his NHL career to the Rangers (that's not to say he wouldn't have worked out similarly on another team).

    Stepan sat out because of his negotiations with Sather. There's a clear difference of opinion on what his worth was then. Hindsight tells us that we could be in a much better position had we figured out a way to lock him up longer term 2 years ago.

    Now, my post that you're referring to was on the difference between offering nothing more than a qualifying offer to 2 players who wound up playing in our top 9, some would argue in the top 6, in a playoff run that saw us reach the Conference Finals. The third player we are hoping can fill a top 9 spot. It's short sighted, in my opinion, especially when a couple/few hundred K on a 2 year deal would generate much more good will with those players. Good will that would likely help once it was time to re-sign them again.

    We're not having this discussion if Stepan had been extended mid-season last year at a reasonable number because both Stepan and management had a great relationship and a new contract was just a formality.
    Last edited by AmericanJesus; 07-06-2015 at 01:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    Hank is an elite superstar. He's a Crosby. An Ovechkin.

    Zuke was an undrafted player who the Rangers took 2 chances on. He owes his NHL career to the Rangers (that's not to say he wouldn't have worked out similarly on another team).

    Stepan sat out because of his negotiations with Sather. There's a clear difference of opinion on what his worth was then. Hindsight tells us that we could be in a much better position had we figured out a way to lock him up longer term 2 years ago.

    Now, my post that you're referring to was on the difference between offering nothing more than a qualifying offer to 2 players who wound up playing in our top 9, some would argue in the top 6, in a playoff run that saw us reach the Conference Finals. The third player we are hoping can fill a top 9 spot. It's short sighted, in my opinion, especially when a couple/few hundred K on a 2 year deal would generate much more good will with those players. Good will that would likely help once it was time to re-sign them again.
    But it doesn't happen that way. Ever. Look at Callahan. He got what many of us felt was half a million more in his second deal, and he still forced the Rangers to trade him...What good will was created? Staal was taken care of in his second deal. He still got top dollar in his third.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    But it doesn't happen that way. Ever. Look at Callahan. He got what many of us felt was half a million more in his second deal, and he still forced the Rangers to trade him...What good will was created? Staal was taken care of in his second deal. He still got top dollar in his third.
    I'm saying that forcing 1 year, $900K contracts on Miller, Fast and Etem is short sighted. They should be more in the $1.25M range for 2 years. You're talking about guys that went from $800K to $2.3-$3M. They're just not comparable at all.

    Miller, Fast and Etem aren't mid level players being forced into top line rolls (Stepan, Callahan) who then expect to be paid better because of it. That's a different management failing. Miller, Fast and Etem are more bottom 6 players that have shown that they might be able to step up into better roles. Chances are at least one of them will be able to truly shine. So ultimately for me it's about $1M more than the absolute minimum, spread across three players so if one really steps up, they don't feel like they've had the thumb on them until the moment they showed their worth.

    I was against Staal's deal, so I agree with you there. I would have traded him.

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