What's To Come

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Derek Stepan Signing

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The most important piece of work still to be done this summer is to re-sign restricted free agent Derek Stepan. Already this off-season RFAs Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin, Justin Falk, and Mats Zuccarello have agreed to terms with the club. What those four players all had in common was that they owned arbitration rights---which puts a more definite timetable on contract negotiations. Stepan does not have arbitration rights, so working out a deal becomes a lengthier process.

There is no fault here on either the team or player side. It just takes more time then when a possible arbitration date is looming in late July. The bottom line is the Rangers want to re-sign their fourth-year center and view him as an important part of the team from a long-term point of view. And Stepan has no designs on leaving New York. This is just part of the process---as Stepan likes to say---and at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, the Rangers top scorer from last season (44 points in 48 games) will agree to terms and Rangers fans everywhere will breathe their collective sigh of relief.