Scott Lev/NHLI via Getty Images NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Stepan is back in the fold with the New York Rangers, agreeing to a two-year contract that should have him back on the ice in time for the season opener. Negotiations had been tense in recent days as the sides worked on a deal to get the restricted free-agent forward signed and into training camp. A contract was finally worked out Thursday, one week before the Rangers start the regular season at Phoenix. The 23-year-old Stepan, expected to be the Rangers’ No. 1 center, led the team with 44 points last season and was second to Rick Nash with 18 goals while playing all 48 games of the lockout-shortened campaign. He had been seeking $3.5 million per season, while the Rangers were offering around $3 million. The new deal is for a total of $6.15 million – $2.3 million this season and $3.85 million in 2014-15. Signing Stepan was a critical move for the Rangers, who are starting the season under new coach Alain Vigneault without captain Ryan Callahan and speedy winger Carl Hagelin – both recovering from shoulder operations. Stepan set career highs last season with a plus-25 rating and six game-winning goals. He tied his high with four power-play goals. Stepan went over the 40-point mark for the third straight season, tying for the NHL lead with four short-handed points. In 12 playoff games, Stepan had a career-best four goals – including winners in Games 3 and 4 of New York’s first-round victory over Washington. In 212 regular-season NHL games overall, Stepan has 56 goals and 140 points.
Why New York Knicks Fans Should Be Concerned About Latest Front Office Shakeup
To bring Chandler on, he had to use the team’s one-time amnesty provision on Chauncey Billups. That left then-coach Mike D’Antoni without an experienced floor general to run his point-guard-heavy system and the Knicks without an easy means of clearing Stoudemire’s onerous contract from their cap sheet. And if we’re going to give Grunwald credit for greasing the wheels on the ‘Melo deal, we’d also have to apportion some blame to him for New York’s decision to give $100 million to a player, in Amar’e, whose knees were uninsurable. Last year, Grunwald neglected to make an actual contract offer to Jeremy Lin before the MSG fan favorite signed off on a “poison pill” pact to take his “Linsanity” act to the Houston Rockets . Chris Chambers/Getty Images This summer wasn’t exactly Glen’s finest hour on the job, either. On July 10th, Grunwald traded three players (Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and Quentin Richardson), a first-round pick and two second-round picks to the Toronto Raptors (i.e. his former employer) in exchange for Andrea Bargnani. That’s the same Andrea Bargnani who’s missed a whopping 98 games over the past three seasons while shooting a subpar 32.3 percent from three. The same guy who, at seven feet tall, has pulled down just 4.8 rebounds per game and has never averaged more than 6.2 boards over the course of a given season. The same guy who’ll earn upwards of $23 million in salary over the next two seasons combined. Though the Knicks dug themselves a bit deeper into a hole of financial inflexibility to bring Bargnani aboard, there is some hope that the towering Italian can at least be useful in New York. Nobody’s expecting him to be a star, as they were in Toronto after he was taken No. 1 overall in 2006.