Russ Miller takes a look at young Rangers’ forward Derek Stepan.
Lame title aside, Derek Stepan is playing some inspired hockey of late. He’s been the Rangers best Centre and is only three points and one goal behind “superstar” Rick Nash‘s team leading 30 points and 13 goals respectively. In most fantasy leagues, Brad Richards and Rick Nash went many rounds ahead of Stepan, yet here we are about to enter the home stretch of this abbreviated season and Stepan is playing the best hockey of his career.
Over his last 17 games, Stepan has 18 points, exactly the same number as Rick Nash. On the Rangers, there are 10 forwards who make more than Stepan’s $875,000 annual cap hit. This is the final year of his contract, so he has set himself up for a very nice pay increase.
Only Ryan Callahan plays more amongst Rangers forwards than Stepan’s 20:43 minutes per game. Stepan also receives the sixth most power play time on ice with 2:45 per game.
In his rookie campaign, Stepan recorded a respectable 21 goals and 45 points. He followed that up with a mildly disappointing 17 goals and 51 points. It was substandard in that much more was expected from him in his sophomore season.
This year, he is on pace for a 28 goal, 63 points pro-rated for an 82 game season. Stepan has also proven to be a durable performer, he has yet to miss a game in his NHL career.
The Rangers are 4-6-1 over their last 11 games played. Brad Richards has four points in his last 11 games. He has been a disappointment this season on Broadway, recording a meagre 19 points in 33 games, a 47 point pace. Last season, Richards recorded 25 goals and 66 points. In his three plus years with Dallas, Richards scored 227 points in 220 games, an 85 point pace per 82 games.
Twice in his NHL career, has Richards scored 91 points, so we know that he has the ability