Saturday Morning Bantering Points: When Will Derek Stepan Sign Edition

Bruce Bennett

Some early morning Bantering Points for you all to enjoy this weekend.

- We're finally reaching the slower stages of the summer in terms of New York Rangers news. There are still a couple of stories out there that will break the next coupe of weeks, mainly the Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan contract negotiations, but until that happens things are about as quiet as they will ever be.

- I wonder if Stepan becomes Glen Sather's top priority now that Zuccarello has filed for arbitration. Since an offer sheet can't come when a player is headed to arbitration there's no fear of a team making the unlikely (but still possible) leap of an offer sheet. Stepan -- who isn't arbitration eligible -- is able to sign an offer sheet if one should come his way, so he's probably the top priority right now.

- The Rangers and Stepan are going to agree on a new deal, and I doubt we're going to see a lengthy negotiation. The question right now is how many years Stepan is going to get. Is it going to be a two-year bridge deal? Did Stepan gain some leverage because of Ryan McDonagh's six-year pact? We'll see soon.

- My guess is Stepan gets a longer term deal. if he was going to be getting a bridge deal it probably would have happened already. Sather didn't lowball Carl Hagelin, so I would be shocked if he lowballed Stepan.

- Another player I think the Rangers might agree to a contract with this summer? This year's 80th overall pick Anthony Duclair. He mentioned making it a priority to sign a deal before the summer is over, and the Rangers might not be opposed to such a strategy. Remember, an ELC can slide if Duclair plays in juniors, which is his probably destination regardless of what happens with a potential contract.

- I also think we're going to see a Henrik Lundqvist extension sometime soon. The Rangers are probably focusing on Zuccarello and Stepan right now because they're free agents but Lundqvist is near the top of the list in terms of priority as well. Both sides have been talking for a few weeks as it is.

Thoughts?

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