Adam has no Internet, so his prospect rankings are on hold for another day. That's awesome. Especially when there's nothing to write about. Which is ironic, actually, because the biggest part of the Rangers offseason is yet to be finalized. You're all lucky, though, even though I have no true ideas for a competent story I can fake it with the best of them, so here we go:
- The Derek Stepan negotiations are quiet. We've gone through this before, however, and that's not a sign of things one way or another. This year alone the Rangers broke almost every RFA signing on their own -- outside of Adam grabbing the scoop on Mat Bodie. The Rangers always play these negotiations close to the vest and they always do things behind the scenes. I like it better that way from an organization standpoint, but it sure does make for some lonely days in July.
- The arbitration date isn't until July 27th, so we still have a really long way to go before the two sides start to sweat things out, but the longer this goes the more chance we get of something being leaked to the public about the negotiations. The last round of Stepan negotiations (which doesn't feel like it happened two years ago) we eventually did get a report about Stepan's asking price and everyone, of course, freaked out. The Rangers and Stepan eventually came to a middle ground and it ended up working out really well for both the player and the team. I'm sure there is a gulf between the two sides -- otherwise he'd be locked up already -- but there are a lot of different "gulfs" if that makes sense. Is it money? Years? A no trade or no movement clause? A mixture of everything? There's a lot that could be going on behind the scenes we don't know about.
- Which -- I think it needs to be said -- is normal. This week we've already seen an enormous group of people throw a hissy fit that Braden Holtby had the audacity to ask for $8-million a year going into arbitration. Remember, guys, negotiating 101 says ask for more than you want. Holtby knows he's not getting $8-million, but he increases his chances of actually getting what he wants by asking for more. Players do this in literally 99% of their negotiations (there are some unique circumstances) and everyone freaks out about it every time.
- What I'm trying to say is: If we get to a point where the Rangers or Stepan talk about how much he's asking for, don't freak out. I know you will, but remember I told you not to.
- The Rangers do have more than enough money right not to lock up Stepan long term, but I really do have a gut feeling Jeff Gorton has another move or two up his sleeve. I'm not sure if it's going to be a bigger splash like Alexander Semin or if it's going to be a move to save some cap space, but I have a feeling something is brewing.
- We talked about this a little after he was signed, but I have to assume Oscar Lindberg getting a two-year, one-way deal locks him in the starting lineup. He would be a fantastic upgrade over Tanner Glass, but that remains to be seen. Either way, there's one too many guys in the lineup right now, and I can't imagine Viktor Stalberg is given the same treatment as Lee Stempniak.
- This all remains to be seen, of course. A few weeks ago I talked about how this summer -- and, really, the Stepan situation as a whole -- was going to pain the best picture for the type of job we can expect from Gorton moving forward. As of right now, Gorton is a golden god who has done everything and anything we have dreamed of. There's still one more piece of the puzzle to go, but this has been some first impression.