Derek Stepan Conmference Call

In News, Pucks on Broadway by Blueshirt

On the difference between this contact negotiation and the one prior to the 2013-14 season:

“For the most part, both sides were pretty close to begin with. These things do take time, setting up everything. Both sides are very happy and very comfortable with where the deal was at. Last time we were a little further apart to begin with. Both sides knew when this was going to end and knew where this was going to end up. It was a lot easier and a lot smoother (this time), that’s for sure.”

On the way the Rangers roster is built:

“We have a great group of guys. That’s where it really starts, how close our teams have been the last four or five years has a lot to do with the group of guys we have in the (locker)room. We’ve got a competitive group and there’s nothing but exciting things to come for us moving forward. To be able to be a part of this for the next six years and try to find a way to take that next step in our team’s goals and (getting over) that extra hump, it’s really cool and it’s a special feeling to be a part of it.”

 On being one of the leaders on the team:

 “We have a group of leaders. I’m going to continue to try to grow as a leader and continue to try to help new guys that are coming in, new faces, and (help) guys that are old faces when they need someone to come to. We still have a young group of guys that are still learning this game. We have a lot of talent and a lot of hard workers.”

On avoiding the arbitration process:

“These things take a lot of time. We’re talking, essentially for me, a life-changing contract. We wanted to make sure that both sides were happy with the direction the talks were going and then it came down to making sure that we get the structure and we get (something) where both sides are happy. It went all the way to the door, but I think (Rangers general manager) Jeff (Gorton) did a great job of … there wasn’t any bad blood through the whole thing. It always seemed that we were close and it was just a matter of just getting over one hump here and one hump there. It went the way I expected it to and it went the way that I wanted it to. Hats off to him and to my agent for doing it the way they did.”

On being committed to the Rangers through the prime of his career

“I’m grateful. I came into the league and I was given an opportunity to be part of an Original Six team, an organization that has treated me extremely well, and now I get to go into my next six years with them. I think we have an exciting group of guys and we have a group of guys that want to take that next step, and that was our main goal right from the beginning. There were not many discussions about a shorter-term deal or even arbitration. The whole time (it) was (about) trying to get a long-term deal done because this is where we want to be.”

On whether he was nervous about whether the deal would get done:

 “No (I wasn’t nervous). The talks were … early on, there weren’t as many talks as there were in the last three or four days. Both sides knew that this area was the number (for the contract). It’s the right number for me. As I watched teammates get signed and free agents get signed, this is the area we thought we were going to be in and they had the space for it the whole time. I was never really nervous. Jeff did a phenomenal job of structuring a team the way he wants to. He knew where it was going to end up and we knew where it was going to end up.”

 

On whether he knew if there would be arbitration or not:

 “It wasn’t like there were any talks (saying) that it’s not going to happen. It was there if we needed to, but it looked like there was a deal in play in the last three or four days. I think both sides: A. didn’t want to really go through it, and B. figured that there was a good number and a good deal right on the table.”

 On going through the process of choosing an “asking price” and seeing what the team’s asking price was in an arbitration brief:

It’s one of those things where as you’re going through it, you have to find a number that makes sense; how you can justify each of your numbers. Both numbers were easily justified, their number and ours. For the most part, we asked high and they asked low. If it would have got to (arbitration), you’ve got to feel that it would land in between those two (numbers).”

On how relieved he is to be done with the free agent process for six years

It’s a great feeling. I can’t be more excited to be a part of a team that I absolutely love. I love the city of New York, I’m grateful for the fans, grateful for the management there, and my wife and I are extremely happy to be there for the next six years.”