Derek Stepan has lockout protection on new contract with Rangers

Jared Clinton
New York forwards Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan celebrate Stepan's game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Blueshirts' 2-1 overtime win over Washington. (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s every hockey fans least favorite word and, now, it’s something Derek Stepan has prepared himself for: a lockout.

With regards to the current CBA, the league’s owners and the NHLPA are given the option to opt out and renegotiate a new CBA come the end of the 2019-20 season. Some believe that could be the beginning of the league’s fourth lockout. As such, Stepan and his agent have taken steps to guard against any lost money.

Monday morning, following Stepan’s signing of a six-year, $39 million contract with the Rangers to avoid arbitration, details of the year-to-year breakdown of the deal began to surface. Among the signing and performance bonuses, there’s an interesting tidbit in year 2020-21. According to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, Stepan will receive a $3 million signing bonus to begin 2020-21 regardless of whether the players hit the ice in October or not. It will be the only signing bonus Stepan receives following the contract’s third year, which makes it clear what the bonus is for. Read more

Why Cam Talbot is better prepared for Edmonton than you think

Matt Larkin
Cam Talbot (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport)

Nothing puts Cam Talbot’s new life in a nutshell like the simple act of trying to speak with him.

He’s easy enough to find at Smashfest, Dominic Moore’s charity ping-pong tournament. Talbot, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, towers over most of the NHL players, journalists and fans in attendance. He’s a game interview subject, too, polite as can be and suggesting we find a quieter part of the building to hear each other better.

Every step Talbot takes, however, he’s mobbed. Fans cling to each of his appendages, begging for photo ops, and he obliges each with a smile. Every time it appears he’s home free, three more people grab him.

He apologizes, but I just shake my head.

“Don’t worry about it. Welcome to life on a Canadian team.”

Read more

Rangers lock up Stepan to six-year, $39 million contract

Jared Clinton
Derek Stepan (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Derek Stepan has signed on to remain a Blueshirt for the next six seasons.

After reports had surfaced over the weekend that Stepan and the New York Rangers were roughly $2 million apart on salary demands – Stepan wanted $7.25 million, the Rangers were coming in around $5.2 million – GM Jeff Gorton and Stepan’s party got together and hammered out a brand new contract for the 25-year-old pivot.

According to ESPN’s Katie Strang, Stepan’s new deal carries a cap hit of $6.5 million per season, which makes it a $39 million deal. While pricy, it’s fair value for Stepan and helps the Rangers solidify their one-two rotation at center with Stepan and Derick Brassard locked up for the next four seasons. Read more

Martin St-Louis says teams were interested, but his heart wasn’t in it anymore

Jared Clinton
Martin St-Louis (Getty Images)

No one expected Martin St-Louis to play forever and coming off of a season in which he scored 21 goals and 52 points in 74 games, he likely could have played one more season. Even St-Louis, at his retirement press conference, admitted that much. But the 40-year-old said his heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

“I knew there were teams interested,” St-Louis said. “I understood the Rangers situation in terms of the salary cap. I think if my heart was in it, they would have found a way. But for me, at that point, my heart wasn’t in it. I feel like if I do something, I’m 100-percent in it. Right now, it feels like it’s time to be 100-percent dad and family man.”

A family man is exactly what St-Louis will get to be. He’ll get to participate in his children’s practices, games and step behind the bench to help out. And, he says, that’s something he’s ready to do because so much of the focus over the past 16 years has been on what he needed to do to stay at the top of his game in the NHL. Read more

Glen Sather to be honored by Oilers in banner raising ceremony

Jared Clinton
Glen Sather

He didn’t score a single goal nor block a single shot during the dynastic days of the Oilers, but Glen Sather was the coach and architect of those Edmonton teams and the club is set to honor him for his contributions.

The Oilers announced Monday afternoon that this upcoming season, prior to their Dec. 11 tilt against the New York Rangers, Sather, 71, will be honored at a banner raising ceremony at Rexall Place. He will become the ninth Oiler – and second non-player – to have a banner hung in his honor by the club, joining the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr and Paul Coffey, all of whom were members of the team during Sather’s days in Edmonton.

“The Oilers organization has been blessed with tremendous leaders, many of them in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Those great teams and players were a part of one of the great dynasties in hockey. But, I can tell you with certainty, none of that success would have happened without Glen Sather,” said Oilers vice-chairman Kevin Lowe in a statement. “Glen was a mentor, leader, protector and father figure for so many players that wore the Oilers sweater. He showed us what it meant to be champions both on and off the ice.

“It will be a very special day for our fans and organization when we celebrate Glen’s contribution and have him join our other legends in raising his banner to the rafters at Rexall Place.” Read more

Flyers re-sign Michael Del Zotto, who completes his comeback

Michael Del Zotto  (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Defenseman Michael Del Zotto has a new two-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers that will pay him an average of $3.8 million per campaign. It’s a nice raise for a player the Flyers took a chance on this season and a bit of security for a still-young D-man who believes he found himself in the City of Brotherly Love.

Read more

Why hasn’t your team done anything this off-season?

Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman.  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

We’ve seen plenty of turnover on NHL rosters so far this summer, setting up what appears to be even crazier parity than normal in each division. The Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks made major moves in the Pacific. The Washington Capitals jazzed up their top two lines in the Metropolitan. The Chicago Blackhawks did anything but sit on their championship team, making over a quarter of their roster.

A bushel of franchises, however, have been oddly quiet so far. Some are justified in their thought process. Others have their angry fans yelling “DO something!”

Why do some of these teams appear to be deer in the headlights right now? There’s a plausible explanation for each, though some are more maddening than others.

Read more