Player Name: Derek Stepan
Position: Center, Power Play, Penalty Kill
Shots Blocked: 46
TOI: 18:03 average
Strengths: Derek Stepan had a horrible start to the season, but since coming back from the Olympic break has been the best offensive player for the New York Rangers. In the 23 games played since the return from Sochi Stepan has registered 21 points, he’s also helped Rick Nash offensively and has even contributed to Martin St. Louis‘ production in recent games. Stepan has really helped the first line become a true offensive threat. His youth and enthusiasm helps balance out his line that’s full of wisdom and league experience.
Weaknesses: More than anything, his youth. He’s only 23 years of age, and doesn’t have half of the experience that St. Louis and Nash have. He’s been an average playoff competitor, registering only 14 points in 37 career playoff games. If the team is going to be successful for the playoffs they are going to need him to step out of his shell and contribute.
Post Season Prediction: I do think that Stepan will break out of that shell especially if he continues on the line with St. Louis and Nash, and become a major part of the Rangers playoff run. He’s playing the best hockey of his career at this point and there’s no reason that should not continue into the post-season.