One of the big question marks at the start of this off season was Derek Stepan, how much do we give him? How long should he get signed for? However, it was only the beginning, so the general consensus seemed to be “Oh it’s fine, Sather will get it done” or, “Stop worrying about it! We have so much time!”
Well now its September, the first pre-season game is less than two weeks away and the first regular season game is less than a month away and now it’s gone from a question mark to a giant throbbing question mark that’s staring us all in the face, especially when you come to realize that forwards Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin are going to be out for the pre-season and most of if not all of October and realize that we cannot be missing any more pieces to our puzzle. But I’m not going to get into if Stepan will be signed, I’m not going to switch us to DEFCON 5 and declare Armageddon, I’m sure Sather and the rest of the Rangers brass understand that Stepan needs to be re-signed, what I’m going to say is that Stepan WILL get signed, he WILL get big money, and I’m going to tell you why he deserves big money.
In the last two years, 23 year old Derek Stepan has become one of the team’s best players, and arguably it’s top center. To compare, Stepan had 44 points in the shortened 2013 regular season, compared to the 42 that Rick Nash had. In the last two campaigns, Stepan has had 95 points, compared to Brad Richards‘ 100 points in his two seasons as a Ranger. In another comparison, John Tavares, the star of the New York Islanders had 47 points in the 2013 shortened season and was nominated for the Hart Trophy. Am I saying that Derek Stepan should’ve been in consideration for the Hart Trophy? Yes, he had the most points on a Stanley Cup contending team and was the team’s number one center at just 23 years old.
Now that we’ve got all the facts and stats, there’s a rumor floating around that Derek Stepan is asking for a deal similar to the one that we saw defenseman Ryan McDonagh get, and although with our current cap issues we can’t give him that deal right now, I think we should give him a bridge deal now, and next season give him a long term McDonagh-like contract, and if it’s still a question, he absolutely deserves it.