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FlightZone: Derek Stepan and Bridge Contract Fallout

Sometimes, kicking the can down the road isn't the best idea.

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The New York Rangers have only themselves to blame for the present situation. After the lockout-shortened season in which Derek Stepan had 44 points in 48 games, the team under Glen Sather decided a two-year bridge deal was the best course of action. Stepan has since proceeded to be very good and now it's time for the Rangers to pay the piper, whether through negotiation or arbitration. Our friends at Blueshirt Banter go into comparables and why Derek Stepan is worth the money he'll probably end up getting.

The general tone seems to be that in this 'smarter' NHL, the best course is to lock up young players into contracts you think (or hope) will be steals within a few seasons. In a cap world, every dollar is valuable and has to (or should) be maximized. There certainly are and will continue to be situations appropriate for bridge contracts, including keeping your team's window open or still-uncertain potential. But if it's a player you believe to be a budding star, locking him up to a deal which might save you millions down the road sounds perfectly reasonable to me. How great do Victor Hedman at $4 million, Tyler Seguin at $5.75 and John Tavares at $5.5 look right about now?

I personally like to compare the Drew Doughty and PK Subban situations. Doughty coming off of his ELC went straight into an 8 year deal worth $7 million per. On the other hand, the Montreal Canadiens decided to play hardball with Subban and signed him to a two-year bridge contract worth $2.875 million per. He then proceeded to parlay that into an 8 year contract, one complete with a $9 million cap hit. If Doughty were to have inked a two-year bridge deal, does he then sign at a cap hit of only $7 million? Ha. If he were to hit the market now his contract could very well rival that of Subban, and perhaps even Toews/Kane. There's a reason why on the topic of RFA contract trends, Elliotte Friedman mentioned how "Subban's contract standoff with the Canadiens is a big part of that". It is Exhibit A of when a team played hardball and paid the price.

A public service announcement: as Jets' fans, this might be a topic to ponder sooner rather than later.

And now, the news.

Central Division

This article's real takeaway is its speculation that Brent Seabrook is lined up to receive "at least Dion Phaneuf-type money". If Frank Seravalli's right, that's insanity. (TSN)

Marian Hossa now has his own Slovakian Mini-Me. (CSN Chicago)

An honest assessment of which prospects could filter into Colorado's 2015-16 opening day lineup and where they would be. It's a defence which could be a fair bit better than last year's showing. (Mile High Sticking)

When Julius Honka replaces Alex Goligoski in 2016-17, he could put up some gaudy numbers with that Dallas top-six. (Defending Big D)

The idea of Dmitrij Jaskin rather than Troy Brouwer slotting into the top-six should allow Blues fans to sleep at night and feel a lot better about life. (Yahoo! Sports)

Captain Serious is a delight. Watch him shuttle the Cup about Winnipeg. (Yahoo! Sports)

And All The Rest

While it's a little early to say you have to keep Domi and Duclair together, that duo plus Hanzal does look like an attractive mix on paper. (Howlin' Hockey)

Breaking news: development camps are a good idea. Also, the idea of making Patrice Bergeron Co-Captain is interesting, though it simultaneously strikes me as unnecessary. (Boston Herald)

Johnny Oduya wouldn't look too bad on the Sabres' blueline, and one imagines they'll be able to pay him a little more than his last team could at the moment. (Buffalo News)

Begin updating your lists of European pros who might be on NHL radars. (The Hockey Writers)

After having been one of the more entertaining movers and shakers in the league, Brandon Saad's contract might be what finally quiets Columbus for a spell. (BlueJacketsXtra)

Keep an eye on the Oliver Kylington situation playing out; he would be an exciting addition to the Brandon Wheat Kings should that be how the cards fall. (Calgary Sun)

If before the free agent proceedings opened you had told me these names would still be available, I would have been moderately surprised. Now can we please get some more bargain signings à la Matt Irwin? (ProHockeyTalk)

Imagine writing Scott Kosmachuk off after his single season in the AHL. Now make Kos a 6'5" back-to-back 50 goal scorer drafted in the 1st round, and you have the silliness which is giving up on Anthony Mantha. (Octopus Thrower)

I mentioned in the preamble how bridge deals might not be the best idea. Adam Larsson is exactly the kind of player where it might still be appropriate. (In Lou We Trust)

The Philadelphia Flyers' defence hasn't been great post-Pronger, but it will shortly be an area of strength and central to that is Ivan Provorov. (NHL)

Some hockey history as the San Jose Barracuda franchise signed their first player. My mental map of the AHL still has yet to update from the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights days. (Blades of Teal)

Andrew Nielsen was one of only two Leafs' draft selections I found underwhelming, but his story of waterboy-turned-teammate is rather endearing. (NHL)

And finally, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis feels they've let Ovechkin down in terms of building teams around him. Ted's probably right, but at least things look pretty decent going into 2015-16. (CSN Washington)

Thanks for reading! Be sure to boost my blogger street cred in the Comments section below by calling me a horrible hack or something close thereto.