11:07AM: Craig Custance of ESPN Insider just sent out at tweet saying “One GM said he prefers bridge contracts for RFAs because it keeps player motivated. Said even best intentioned players can get complacent.”
10:49AM: At Puck Daddy, Ryan Lambert writes that the Rangers deserve the same kind of scrutiny and criticism that the Maple Leafs are facing over the Nazem Kadri situation.
Kadri, like Stepan, is an RFA and his contract situation has been the biggest story surrounding the Maple Leafs as they head into training camp.
Lambert writes that Stepan has a proven enough track record to get a contract that matches his production but that the Rangers are unable, due to cap space, offer him that much.
He says that Glen Sather messed up this off-season by bringing in players like Benoit Pouliot over signing Stepan and taking care of a “future centerpiece” of the organization.
For more on Stepan’s contract, CLICK HERE.
Adam Rotter: We are two days from players reporting for training camp and Stepan remains unsigned. That will likely change shortly and Stepan will likely be with the team when they report for physicals on Wednesday. When it comes to priorities, Ryan McDonagh was number one and Stepan was number two. The difference is that Stepan has no leverage and no rights and the Rangers could take their time getting the best deal for themselves.
Stepan has proven enough to warrant a deal of more than two years and of more than $3.5 million but the Rangers don’t have the space to give him that and they know that they can get him for under market value for at least two seasons. Knowing that they hold the rights to Stepan and that offer sheets are few and far between, the Rangers knew they can fill out some parts of the roster, sign a few other RFAs and still get Stepan signed later on.