Derek Stepan and the New York Rangers might not be far apart on a new deal money-wise, but the negotiations between the restricted free agent’s reps and GM Glen Sather seem pretty tense.
At least, that’s certainly the vibe Sather gave off during an MSG interview, which ESPN’s Katie Strang transcribed:
“I hope he starts to get a little wiser about this decision,” Sather said Monday. “It’s unfortunate that Derek has decided to listen to his agent. I don’t think Derek’s going to let this linger too long. I don’t think he’s big enough of a fool …”
That’s quite the frank way to discuss a 23-year-old forward who just had a breakthrough 2013 season (44 points in 48 regular season games).
Reports indicate Stepan is unlikely to begin the regular season with a contract, even though the difference seems relatively slim at $600K per year.
Looking at some of the bloated contracts in the Rangers salary structure, one might believe that Stepan has every right to ask for big money. Sather has developed a knack for driving hard bargains with quality RFAs, however; his staff managed to sign the likes of Carl Hagelin, Marc Staal and Ryan Callahan to relative bargains with regularity.
These situations usually blow over once the ink dries on fresh deals, although Sather would be wise to avoid an estranged scenario like the Colorado Avalanche experienced with Ryan O’Reilly last year.
Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.
Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.
From the club:
Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.
Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.
This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.
Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.
Two days after an uninspiring performance versus San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings will be getting an injection of youthful enthusiasm tonight versus Arizona.
Coach Darryl Sutter confirmed today that Jordan Weal will make his NHL debut at Staples Center.
A 23-year-old center, Weal is expected to replace Andy Andreoff and skate between Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan on the fourth line.
“It’s really exciting,” Weal told LA Kings Insider. “A lot of work has gone into getting to this part of my career, and the hard work’s just going to continue. It’s going to keep going, and I’m trying to do as much as I can in this game and keep improving from this game moving forward in trying to solidify a solid spot in the lineup.”
The 70th overall pick in 2010, Weal had 69 points in 73 games last season for AHL Manchester.
Related: Jordan Weal is looking to make the leap