After just four days of training camp, there is a lot going on in Rangers world. Where to start…
Derek Stepan is still M.I.A. The Rangers and their first-line center are still trying to hammer out a deal and get the 23-year old to camp. The NY Post’s Larry Brooks spoke with Glen Sather on the situation, who said, “We all like Derek and want him here, but I’ve told him that his agent is being unrealistic. We’re just not close at this point. When you look at the CBA, without arbitration rights, he’s going to get a gap deal. That’s the way it is. It’s silly for him to miss camp at his age.”
Stepan and his agent have reiterated that Stepan wants to be a Blueshirt. Stepan’s agent wants to get his client the best deal possible of course, and both sides are looking into a short-term deal. If Stepan does eventually sign with the Rangers, it will certainly be for one or two years.
Coach Alain Vigneault has adopted a saying for the Rangers at training camp: “Clean slate, grab it!” In fact, he had the saying printed on t-shirts and gave it out to each player on the first day of camp. The one player who could not be happier about the new coach’s motto is Brad Richards. Vigneault explained that he told Richards to move on from last year.
“I told Brad to turn the page and not to talk about what happened in the past. It’s behind you, and I wasn’t here, so I don’t care. Every time I see him, he seems real positive, real upbeat. This is a new season and I’m sure he will put his best foot forward,” Vigneault stated.
Addressing the situation himself, Richards said, “I’m happy I’m here, thrilled. Grateful I am still here and get a chance to be a part of this organization. I’ll start new. ”
I have really liked Vigneault’s approach so far, especially with Richards. Richards is a proud player and will be better this year than last. Vigneault’s clean slate and support will go a long way for him.
The Rangers brought in former Devils backup Johan Hedberg to try out at the beginning of camp. Backup Marty Biron missed the first two days of camp for “personal reasons,” but the specific reason remains unknown. He says he is “100% back,” and unless something unexpected happens, except him to be the Rangers backup.
Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said he was impressed by the play of youngsters Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast. The two have to be beaming with confidence after their impressive prospect tournaments, as well as hearing this encouragement from McDonagh. Again, look for both players to make a push for a roster spot.
Last but not least, there is video of Chris Kreider jumping out of a pool from last year that has resurfaced lately, which is just all sorts of impressive.