Derek Stepan Contract: Is The NHLPA Playing A Part In Negotiations?

Is the NHL Players' Association playing a part in Derek Stepan's contract talks? Most likely.

I know there have been a ton, and I mean a ton of Derek Stepan stories popping up over the last few months, as both sides continue to hammer out a deal before training camp. But, an interesting article came about a few days ago regarding negotiations between the St. Louis Blues and star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Andy Strickland writes that its not only relatives and family friends that play a part, its also the players' union. Here's a shortexcerpt explaining his reasoning.

"When you're a star player negotiating a contract there's serious pressure that comes with it. While fans, friends, and family certainly count for something, the real pressure comes from the union. It's a pressure of leverage not to undervalue yourself and to make sure you're doing your part to set the bar for the next player down the line."

He goes on to add that the NHLPA is constantly reminding players of the advantages they've gained with the recent collective bargaining agreement, and that it's time to run along those lines. It wouldn't surprise me in the least bit if this sort of situation is taking place with Derek Stepan as well. He's in a very similar situation as Pietrangelo, as both players are extremely valuable to their respective teams.

It was suspected that the New York Rangers were offering Stepan a bridge deal, which was confirmed at the Stadium Series press conference the other day. It's also believed that Stepan is trying to break the trend like Ryan McDonagh did, and cash in on a long-term deal.

With the Rangers shoving a bridge deal in Stepan's face, and the apparent pressure from the NHLPA, it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.

Thoughts? Do you think the NHLPA is playing a serious part in negotiations?