5:40PM: Vigneault’s comments on Stepan were:
- They aren’t on the ice yet. I have talked to Derek a couple of times over the summer. He knows that contracts aren’t part of my responsibility, I will take him with open arms when he gets here. We want him here, he wants to be here. If it doesn’t it’s opportunities for other people. It would be better if he was here, there is no doubt. We have a new staff and we want everyone to start together and work together to build that foundation. This is a situation that is not within my control. Like I told him over the phone, I look forward to being his coach and working with him when he gets here. It will be fine.
5:33PM: In his chat with the media today, Alain Vigneault said it would be better if Derek Stepan was under contract and in camp but that he has spoken to Stepan multiple times this summer and looks forward to being his coach when he gets the chance.
Vigneault said, via NHL.com, that he doesn’t have any control over the situation and that the preference is for him to be in camp and working with the new coaches and new teammates.
He added, via the NY Post, that everything will be fine and that when the time comes, Vigneault will welcome Stepan with open arms.
Adam Rotter: If Stepan is out for a while, which I still think is unlikely, it gives Derick Brassard and Brad Richards a real opportunity to snap up the top two center spots. Brassard is in a contract year and seems poised to be the player he was supposed to be after being picked sixth overall. Richards is planning to bounce back from last season and Stepan can open the door for both of them if he stays away for more than a day or two.