Derek Stepan Contract: RFA Expects To Be At Training Camp

Bruce Bennett

Stepan talked (finally!) about his contract negotiations.

You're all aware that the New York Rangers and Derek Stepan are in the middle of contact negotiations. The Rangers are offering Stepan a "bridge deal," which is organizational policy for RFA's coming off their ELCs (unless your name is Marc Staal or Ryan McDonagh).

To this point the two sides haven't come to an agreement. And with just under two weeks until training camp, that's caused fans to start panicking. Some of you might feel better after Stepan said this Monday (quote is from Newsday, so there's a paywall):

"I don't expect either side expects me not to be [at camp]," Stepan said in his first public comments on the negotiations this summer during the first day of the U.S. National Team's orientation camp. "Both sides are working at finding the right number and a fair deal . . . I don't think anybody wants it to stretch out longer than it should."

This isn't surprising. I don't think anyone honestly expected the two sides to be at such an impasse that the Rangers top center holds out of training camp. It's clear Stepan and the Rangers are apart, but the consistent fact that neither side has leaked any information to the press has to be seen as a major positive at this stage in the game.

There does seem to be a consensus that negotiations are going to "ramp up" as the two sides get closer and closer to the start of training camp. That might upset some of you -- since, why wouldn't they be working as hard as they can be from the beginning? -- but it's the way these things work.

Even McDonagh went as far as to say he expected his teammate (and former Wisconsin Badger) to show up at camp.

So relax. Take a deep breath. Things will get settled soon.

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