Rangers, Stepan agree to new deal for six years, $39 million

Derek Stepan takes the winning shot to beat a sprawling Braden Holtby scoring at 11:24 of overtime to send the Rangers to the Conference Finals where they'll meet the Lightning. Game 1 is Saturday. AP Photo by Frank Franklin II/Getty Images

Derek Stepan and the Rangers finally agreed to a much anticipated new six-year contract worth $39 million avoiding arbitration.
AP Photo by Frank Franklin II/Getty Images

They waited till the last minute. Finally, the Rangers and Derek Stepan agreed to a new deal that’ll pay him $39 million over the next six years. Indeed, the predicted figure which was proposed in this space as well as others turned out to be true. Stepan’s average salary is $6.5 million per season. ‘

From the beginning, it made sense. With Stepan submitting $7.25 million for arbitration and the Rangers countering with $5.2 million, you had to figure they’d settle in the middle. It couldn’t have gone any better except for one odd question. Why did it take so long for the two sides to get it done? Everyone knew what Stepan would get. However, that’s how the Rangers do business. They like to wait and drive us crazy.

For some, that meant panic. Fans started questioning why Stepan came in with a figure above seven million while the Blueshirts came in two million dollars apart. That’s part of the process. If they’d paid attention to the Capitals and Braden Holtby who actually requested $8 million before settling on $6.1 per season over the next five, each side deliberately does it and then get down to negotiating.

Now that Stepan is done, new GM Jeff Gorton has gotten everyone re-signed. The Rangers should be right at around $70 million for training camp. The current roster could always change. Tanner Glass remains a candidate for waivers. If either Dylan McIlrath or Brady Skjei impress the coaching staff, Kevin Klein could still be dealt to clear room.

For now, we can breathe easy. A Happy Monday indeed for the Blueshirts.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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