Updates on Derek Stepan,  Cody Franson, Damien Brunner, Simon Gagne and more.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Derek Stepan’s agent, Matt Oates, said his client would prefer a long-term deal but is willing to consider a short-term contract. It’s believed the Rangers have offered him a two-year deal worth between $2.5-$2.7 million per season.

Cody Franson's contract talks with the Maple Leafs remain at an impasse.

Cody Franson’s contract talks with the Maple Leafs remain at an impasse.

TSN.CA: Jonas Siegel reports the Toronto Maple Leafs and defenseman Cody Franson remain at an impasse in contract negotiations. Franson remains optimistic of reaching a resolution soon. He’s believed seeking a one-year, $3 million deal, while the Leafs prefer a two-year deal for less money. The threat of an offer sheet is among the limited options in Franson’s favor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible Franson and Stepan could be placed on the trade block but it sounds as though both clubs are prepared to wait them out.  Limited cap space is why both players remain unsigned. What they’re seeking isn’t unrealistic, and if both clubs had more cap space, Franson and Stepan would be under contract now.  As for offer sheet, the decline in the salary cap makes that option a remote one. So, the waiting game continues.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the return of Daniel Cleary to the Detroit Red Wings could result in the demotion of Gustav Nyquist and Danny DeKeyser (who are waiver-exempt) and/or the trading or waiving of Jordin Tootoo, Cory Emmerton, Patrick Eaves, Mikael Samuelsson or Tomas Tatar to become cap compliant as well as trim their roster to 23 players.

DETROIT FREE PRESS’s Helene St. James reports the following via Twitter: “Hearing UFA ex-Wing Damien Brunner may be talking to Dallas (Jim Nill knows him) and New Jersey, possibly also Vancouver.”

RDS.CA/TVA SPORTS: report Simon Gagne’s agent has spoken with several clubs, including the Montreal Canadiens.

SPORTSNET’s Chris Johnston reports the following about Gagne on Twitter: “The #Habs have not extended a PTO to Simon Gagne. Player is believed to be interested but the same can’t be said for team.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Gagne’s injury history and the steady decline in his production he doesn’t seem a good fit with the Canadiens.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: In the wake of the Carolina Hurricanes signing Ron Hainsey, Chip Alexander reports Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford will “keep an open mind” about possibly adding another player via signing or trade.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: James O’Brien listed Tim Thomas, Ilya Bryzgalov, Vinny Prospal, Brad Boyes, Damien Brunner, Mason Raymond, Tom Gilbert, Brenden Morrow and Ryan Whitney among the best available free agents. Some of them – like Boyes, Raymond, and Whitney – are on PTO contracts.