I will be very honest with you: I did not expect the negotiations between Mats Zuccarello and the New York Rangers to drag on this long. I fully expected the two sides to come to an agreement before Zuccarello was scheduled for his arbitration hearing on July 31st.
And while there's still time for the two sides to come to an agreement -- and no reason to assume they can't -- it's looking more and more likely Zuccarello is going to find himself fighting his case in front of an arbitration.
The reality of the situation is there has been no news out of the Rangers for two weeks now. That includes news/leaks/anything on Derek Stepan as well. It's possible the Rangers and Zuccarello have hit a snag in the negotiations, but it's unlikely since Zuccarello has already admitted he would take less money to come back to Broadway.
Maybe Sather is locked in a battle with Stepan? Or maybe Sather went too low for Zuccarello and he finally put his foot down?
I'm not sure. It should be noted that no one expected the Carl Hagelin extension when the Rangers broke the news themselves, so something could be in the works under the surface. But right now it seems like Zuccarello and the Rangers will battle things out in front of an arbitrator.