The New York Rangers checked off their final task on this summer's to-do list, and have agreed to terms on a multi-year extension with RFA Derek Stepan. The Rangers announced the deal via an official team release on Twitter, but did not disclose the terms of the contract. Larry Brooks confirmed shortly after the announcement that Stepan received a 6-year deal that will carry a cap hit of $6.5 million per year.
There's no denying that Jeff Gorton has done some excellent, excellent work this off-season, and Stepan's brand new deal is just the icing on the cake. He was able to navigate the salary cap waters, and while it was tough, Gorton found ways to improve this team with smart, cost-controlled signings. That all paved the way for the Rangers to afford Stepan and also provided some additional breathing room under the cap.
After Stepan's deal, the Rangers will have about $850,000 left in cap space, assuming Oscar Lindberg is guaranteed to land a roster spot in September. That is clearly much more than we anticipated the Rangers to have before the summer began, and they have their team set in late-July.
Jeff Gorton is the man.