New York Rangers will need to pay Derek Stepan


The New York Rangers are going to be having a very interesting offseason, and general manager Glen Sather has his work cut out for himself.

More from New York Rangers

There is surely going to be a lot of talk surrounding Rick Nash, who once again struggled to score in playoffs. While figuring out what to do with Nash is certainly high on Sather’s list of offseason chores, evaluating Derek Stepan may be more important.

In the last two seasons, Stepan has been a consistent player for the Rangers. In the 2013-14 season, Stepan totaled 57 points with 17 goals and 40 assists. He followed that up this past season with 55 points in 68 games.

Stepan was one of the Rangers’ better offensive players in another disappointing playoffs in terms of scoring. In 19 games this postseason, Stepan totaled 12 points with five goals and seven assists.

Stepan’s biggest playoff moment came in Game 7 against the Washington Capitals. In overtime with the season on the line, Stepan would score the game-winning goal to send the Rangers into the Eastern Conference Finals.

“For the majority of the playoffs, we played really good hockey,” Stepan said after the season ended to Brett Cyrgalis. “We got this series, and give Tampa credit — it’s a good hockey team. We just weren’t able to beat them to four. That’s all it comes down to. We get it to a Game 7 on home ice, and it just wasn’t there for us.”

This offseason, Stepan will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. As Sather and Stepan’s agents negotiate, Stepan may be looking to get a new contract of a five-year deal worth north of $6 million per season.

The Rangers are likely going to be strapped for cash even if the cap rises, but keeping a 25-year-old Stepan is an important thing. The Rangers losing in the Eastern Conference Finals may be a failure to the organization, but advancing that far in the playoffs is still an accomplishment.

All the talk is of the Rangers making dramatic changes as the loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning is fresh in minds. The Rangers will surely be making changes, but they also need to make sure they keep the important parts of the team intact.

“We’ve got a really special group in here,” Stepan said to Cyrgalis, “a really good group of guys.”

Stepan realizes that even with a loss in the Conference Finals, the Rangers have something special, and he is a big part of that.

Next: Who is the best Ranger of all-time?

More from Empire Writes Back