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Stepan and Rangers about $600,000 apart on a contract

Winnipeg Jets v New York Rangers

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: Derek Stepan #21 of the New York Rangers celebrates his score at 19 seconds of the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden on April 1, 2013 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Jets 4-2 as Stefan scored two. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The New York Rangers and restricted free agent Derek Stepan still haven’t gotten a new deal worked out. With the Rangers season starting October 3 in Phoenix, time is running short to get him into camp and prepared for the year.

The crazy part here is the two sides aren’t far apart in getting a deal done.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post opines that both sides are losing in these negotiations if they continue to drag, especially when their money demands are close.

Brooks says Stepan is seeking a two-year bridge deal worth $7 million while the Rangers and GM Glen Sather have offered him a two-year deal at just under $6 million but are willing to go to $6.4 million.

A difference of $600,000 separating the two sides from getting a deal done seems like a foolish amount to squabble over, but here we are.

The Rangers have talked about how they’ve liked Brian Boyle’s play so far in camp and Derick Brassard and Brad Richards have looked stronger, but Stepan is their No. 1 center no matter what.

If the Rangers want to keep pushing Stepan into a corner to get a contract done their way, they might be looking at even tougher negotiations in two years when his next deal ends.

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