Updates on Derek Stepan and Ilya Bryzgalov, plus a look at the Rangers options if Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t re-sign with them next summer.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Joe Yerdon examines the NY Rangers options if they fail to re-sign goaltender Henrik Lundqvist next summer, listing Jonas Hiller, Ryan Miller, Corey Crawford and Jaroslav Halak among next summer’s potential free agents. Yerdon noted Lundqvist doesn’t see himself leaving the Rangers and isn’t thinking about free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers will open the vault to keep Lundqvist, potentially making him the highest-paid goaltender in the NHL. If he wins the Vezina, he’ll definitely become the highest-paid. I believe Rangers management could wait until June to determine how much the salary cap will rise next season before making a serious pitch to Lundqvist.
NORTHJERSEY.COM/NEWSDAY: NY Rangers RFA center Derek Stepan remains patient in his contract negotiations, staying hopeful he’ll re-sign before training camp opens in two weeks. Newsday’s Steve Zipay suggests Stepan “deserves” a long-term extension worth $4 million, but the Rangers (due to limited cap space) are offering him a two-year bridge contract for an undisclosed amount. Stepan wouldn’t get into the details as to what could be holding up his re-signing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stepan doesn’t sound as though he’s thinking of staging a holdout. Though Stepan has earned a significant raise above the $875K per season on his ELC, the Rangers only have $2.1 million in cap space and cannot afford to pay him $4 million per season. He could be forced to settle for a two-year deal at $1.8 million per.
YAHOO! SPORTS’s Dmitry Chesnokov recently reported via Twitter “CSKA GM Sergei Fedorov says the door is open at his club for Ilya Bryzgalov, who is still looking for a team.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL could be Bryzgalov’s only option, as there appears no interest in his services around the NHL.