Derek Stepan Contract: Does Blake Wheeler's Deal Impact Stepan's?

Paul Bereswill

Does Blake Wheeler's contract impact Derek Stepan's?

The New York Rangers and center Derek Stepan haven't agreed to a new contract as of yet. Some of you seem to think this is a bad thing. Others (myself included) are pretty sure that no news is good news. But on Friday night something happened in the hockey world that might impact Stepan's negotiations. Late Friday night the Winnipeg Jets and Blake Wheeler agreed to a six-year deal worth $33.6-million. That's a hefty contract, which comes out to a $5.6-million cap hit. That cap hit is far more than anyone expects Stepan to get. And while Wheeler was a pending UFA in a single season, and did have a great year last year (41 points), that's a lot of money and a lot of years for him. I think the longer the Stepan negotiations drag on the more it seems the Rangers are trying to force him into a bridge deal. But since Ryan McDonagh's deal wasn't a bridge contract, it might be difficult for the Rangers to make Stepan swallow that option. Anyway, it's a lazy weekend in the dog days of summer. We have to talk about something. So what do you guys think? You think the Wheeler deal impacts Stepan?
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