Mar
09

What is wrong with Derek Stepan?

March 9, 2017, by

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

There are two major discussion points that don’t involve Tanner Glass or any of the members of the defense. One is the woes at MSG, which I covered yesterday. The other is the slump of the Rangers top center. Derek Stepan has a line of 12-32-44 through 67 games. That puts him on pace for 54 points over an 82 game season, on par for his career average.

However the Stepan we’ve seen since January 17, the last time he scored a goal, is not the Stepan that is capable of putting up 54 points per season. In that span of 22 games, Stepan has just eight assists. It has drawn the ire of a good number of fans as well. And don’t think it’s gone unnoticed around here either. So let’s dive into what might be troubling Stepan.

Usually the first thing I look at when a player is slumping is the shots on goal. Stepan has taken 51 shots on goal in the 22 games that he’s been slumping, for an average of 2.3 shots per game. In the other 45 games, Stepan took 114 shots, good for 2.5 shots per game. So while the shot total is slightly down, it’s not necessarily alarming. He’s still getting his shots on net.

The next item I usually look at is shooting percentage. Of those 114 shots, Stepan scored 12 times, which is good for a 10.5 SH%. That’s rather high, and a full percentage point about his 9.6% career shooting rate. So while regression was due, it wasn’t supposed to be a major shift. He is currently sporting a 7.4 SH%.

When the base numbers fail to give us anything concrete, which they are not, it’s time to dive deeper into his possession trends. Since we are worried primarily about his offensive contributions, we are going to focus on Corsi-For and Scoring Chances-For (25-game rolling averages). First let’s look at raw CF/60:

So Stepan is actually trending up on his raw shot attempts. But that doesn’t really tell us much without looking at the quality.

Now we might be on to something. Stepan is seeing his scoring chances drop since the beginning of the season. Now while these may not be his scoring specific chances, it would certainly impact his overall scoring, both goals and assists. However it’s very difficult to pin down why this might be occurring. There are many potential reasons why this could be happening, and it could be one, some, or all of those reasons. His SCF/60 of 8.04 is ahead of only Oscar Lindberg, Brandon Pirri, and Matt Puempel. This is a huge decline from last year’s 9.48 SCF/60.

After looking at everything here, the only inference I can make is that Stepan is simply just struggling right now. There are a ton of hockey cliches to use here, like gripping his stick a little too tight. There is just no simple answer to why he is struggling so much. It may be one of those things that the club just needs to wait out. It’s better he has these struggles now than in April.

"What is wrong with Derek Stepan?", 1 out of 5 based on 10 ratings.
Categories : Players

85 comments

  1. Mikeyyy says:

    It’s the 6y@6m he signed. The wife he married in the offseason the broken jaw and broken leg he suffered. He lost his edge. It’s a decision people make. He can be a 1c for 5-10 years before he breaks down. Or 10-15 as a 2c.

    I was a fan but after watching the young studs we have in waiting. I would move him at the draft for picks.

    • Al Dugan says:

      Those young center studs we have in waiting…..who are they again?

      • Mikeyyy says:

        Jt miller Kevin Hayes oscar Lindbergh.

        All of which are scoring more than him. And cost less.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          None of them have proven they are defensively sound enough to match up against the league’s best centers, which is part of what you lose when you lose Stepan. Not saying they CAN’T do it, but as the old song goes….”You don’t know what you got til it’s gone”…..

          • Reenavipul says:

            You mean the guys who play on the penalty kill?

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Fair point, but special teams play doesn’t always translate to how things work five on five. Effective centers are hard to find.

              As Miller and Hayes are growing as players, they are getting better defensively. No doubt. By next year, one or both may be ready to take on that role as 1C. Or maybe Z. But if it happened mid-season or lets say now due to injury, I think we would take a hit.

              • Reenavipul says:

                Like finish 7th in the East?

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Like reducing our chances of advancing deep in the playoffs if we are healthy and the hockey gods smile on us.

                As i posted below…

                Stepan is one of the few Rangers that maintains if not elevates his play come playoff time. Over the last four playoff seasons, he has 16 goals in 60 games. Pretty darn good. He doesnt wear down come playoff time. quite the opposite.

                Again, I warn you, be careful what you wish for.

              • Reenavipul says:

                Then deal him before the NMC kicks in. You have 2 players who are younger and cheaper who are outperforming him at P60 and little PPTOI.

                Considering you have to pay them both after next season, you need to lose Step to keep the salary structure in place. Lose Step, lock them in with an extension until they’re 29 at a number around Step’s and you’re golden.

                You have to be colder than an ex-wife’s heart as a GM and it’s the best way to should play it out.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                On that we agree. You just have to be sure you are able to replace what we lose, and that our supposed young “stars” actually play that way next year.

                If management is confident that’s the case, then yes, I agree. Trade him before July 1.

    • jerry maley says:

      Why would any team give up draft PICKS for someone who is a slow skater, not physical and “couldn’t put the puck in the net if he was standing on the pier” as someone once said….

  2. supermaz says:

    Smart, heady player. Responsible, but slow, soft, and overpaid. Time to cut bait, he’s not going to get any better, more likely to get worse.

  3. orangemike says:

    Now we’re blaming the players’ wives? Hmmm…let’s see…errr….uhhh…12 goals…67 games…sounds a lot like the scoring line of someone we know…….

    Oh, wait, I found it!! Rick Nash’s playoff totals since he became a Ranger!! OMG!!! We need to hang Derek Stepan in effigy, he stinks, he’s overpaid at $6 mil. But no one’s allowed to criticize Nash……..

    Hope everyone is enjoying their week; spring is around the corner. Regards- orange

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      People hate on Nash all the time…that’s not news.

      It is also irrelevant to this thread.

      • Walt says:

        You beat me to the punch with your reply. Nash has had more than his share of arrow shot in his direction since he got here, including from me!!!!!!!!!

    • Mikeyyy says:

      Not blaming the wife. But marriage changes you. He needs to think about his family and career longevity.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        The wife doesn’t help, as we all know women weaken legs. He also has a bigger house, a number of nice cars and plenty of other distractions. He’s probably spending too much time with his turtles Cuff and Link, and not enough time training. Also, his brother in law Paulie showing up drunk to holiday dinners I’m sure is disrupting the home life, causing stress and hurting production….

  4. pas44 says:

    this cat picks it up in big situations, I am holding judgement on him until after this season, if he gets hot & or rocks the post season, I may feel differently about his par year this year.

    Nash to me is the guy who is not being what he is paid to be, I know I know, Nash does many other things on the ice, but his role, why he is paid, what we gave to get him needs to be that scary scorer, you know what I mean, their are players in his type of role on many other teams that very consistently make you crap your pants every time they touch the puck & with consistent better scoring percentages…

    I would move the big boy down the road (sorry rick) time to leave broadway.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Players in their 30s, especially when they were former superstars will NEVER justify their paychecks. Everyone needs to accept this as the current reality. While I am all for 4 year max contracts, that is not the current salary landscape. Players production curves are moving left (aka their scoring more goals in their career than ever before). Couple that with the fact that players, due to collective bargaining factors, don’t get paid for their early RFA years. And we are left with a model where players are overpaid given current production levels, especially those who were wildly successful in their younger days.

      You’re the man, pas, so any excitement on my end isn’t solely directed at you, but the anti-Nash crowd is loud and I really can’t figure out why. Nash is actually aging quite gracefully relative to his expensive piers.

      Here is what his goals have cost each year (vs caphit) since he broke into the league in 02-03.

      $69,705.88
      $28,902.44
      $174,193.55
      $200,000.00
      $135,000.00
      $163,636.36
      $243,750.00
      $260,000.00
      $371,428.57
      $300,000.00
      $185,714.29
      $520,000.00
      $290,650.41

      Right now he is in line to have his best bargain year goal-wise since 2011-2012.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Brilliant job Hatrick.

        Nash is playing really well right now, even despite the fact he’s not clicking in terms of goals. He’s arguably our best forward night in and night out.

        • orangemike says:

          Nice analysis, Hatrick, I respect your opinion, and E3 and Walt too. But a couple of things.

          1) To me, all the last 7 numbers mean is that last year he had a REALLY lousy year at $520G’s/goal. His last two years, including this one, total 115 games and 33 goals. Really? For $8mil? I get the injuries, and so on, but the guy is going to be 33 years old on Phil Mickelson’s birthday. It’s not like he’s 24.

          2) A lot of my problem with Nash has been the playoffs. We can make all the excuses we want, this guy has 11 goals in 61 playoff games with the Rangers. Until that changes, it will continue to be my opinion that I want more production than that from the second-highest player on the team. And please don’t bore me with the list of “other important things he does on the ice.” Please.

          3) With all due respect, being the best forward recently on this team isn’t saying much. If his production increases in the playoffs, I’ll change my tune. Until then, nope. Sorry.

          Regards- orange

          • Hatrick Swayze says:

            Let me put it like this, using golden boy Patrick Kane. Here are his figures:

            Kane $ per Goal from 2007/08 on:
            $41,666.67
            $35,000.00
            $29,166.67
            $233,333.33
            $273,913.04
            $273,913.04
            $217,241.38
            $233,333.33
            $228,260.87
            $362,068.97

            This year, Nash is costing us less than Kane (currently) and he is 32 to Kane’s 28.

            In fact, on average between ages 19 and 28 in the NHL,
            Kane has cost $192,789 per goal
            Nash has cost $201,901 per goal

            Since then (Nash’s 30, 31 and 32 yo seasons) he’s averaged $332,121, or a 64% increase. Given Kane’s 10 million contract, don’t be surprised to see him follow a similar trajectory.

      • pas44 says:

        That’s awesome. So let me make sure I am seeing this correctly.
        Last year each goal Nash got costs the team $520K and this year each goal costs $290K?

        That’s totally great stats my man!

        if I was;t at work I would start to compare this to other players who have the same role (superstar – lead goal getter) on teams to see how Nash adds up…

        thanks for not directing it all at me, I know your a hard core fan who tells it like it is, I can take it when I say things, I love the banter!!!

        cheers,

        LGR!

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Yes, exactly correct. The $290k will change between now and season’s end based on how many more goals he scores. Worst case- he doesn’t score any more and his cost per goal settles at $433k. I’d love to compare this to players across the show and do some of the work for ya.

          Can anyone point me to a site which has salary cap info along with player stats? Currently I have to go to 2 places (capfriendly and stat site of choice) to pull the data and line it up, which is a very manual process. If anyone knows where the info may all be tracked and stored in one place, I’d very much appreciate it

          • pas44 says:

            I am going to need to see this in “Per Shift” & “Per Minutes on Ice” too please.

            Along with those TPS reports. You got the memo about the new TPS report process right?

            😉

            Great stuff. I still think Nash needs to dominate like other players do more often too, and it would be nice to see him take control of a game more, and is it too much to ask him to do something more in the post season?

      • roadrider says:

        “Players in their 30s, especially when they were former superstars will NEVER justify their paychecks.”

        True. But the corollary is that teams get a huge bargain in the players’ earlier years. The mismatch comes from the fact that the team paying the big contract in the players’ plateau and decline phases is not always the same team that got the bargain when the player was younger. And that’s the result of restricted movement until the player reaches a certain service time. Teams can’t have it both ways – get big bargains on younger players because they have maximum leverage over the player’s contract and ability to negotiate with other teams AND get the same production/$ from older players they sign as UFAs.

        I’m fine with staying away from big (mostly in years) UFA contracts for guys over a certain age. That’s why I wasn’t unhappy when the Rangers let Yandle walk. As good as he is he was never going to be worth that contract over its duration.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Couldn’t agree with you more. The only thing I’d add is that we shouldn’t be too concerned with the fact of the ‘mismatch’ that you pointed out above. Such is the way of life in the NHL.

          And you’re spot on with Yandle. I was one of his biggest fans, but am happy with the decision to part ways.

          • roadrider says:

            Oh, I’m not concerned about the mismatch. That was aimed at the Nash bashers. You’re absolutely right that its the way of life in the NHL. In fact, it is in all pro sports. With FA you’re paying a premium for past performance. Its more of a problem in a hard cap league like the NHL. I’m opposed to salary caps since they’re all about redistributing revenue from players to owners and not about making the game affordable for fans but I guess that’s another fact of life in the NHL.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              100% agree. Covered the various baseball work stoppages and wrote extensively on them back in the day. The salary cap is EXACTLY what you just said it is….a total sham that simply puts more money in the owners pockets and weakens the game. Baseball, with revenue sharing and a luxury tax approach, is doing it best out of all the leagues.

              • Reenavipul says:

                Like how the Marlins and Royals(who they were talking about contracting until they got good) gamed the system better?

                NHL has revenue sharing written into the CBA, also forces teams that need it to hit metrics to qualify.

                The bigger problem is that the NHLPA didn’t get enough of the pie while owners are doing workarounds to make more money away from the club, yet piggybacking off it(like how the Jets own the Moose and run it in the same barn.)

      • Joe S. says:

        4 years Max is too long! I say 3 year max. The league needs to start making these players earn the next 3 yr contract. Otherwise scrap the Cap. Just can’t have both!

  5. SalMerc says:

    Look, nobody dislikes the output of Stepan more than me, but he is a component of 3. His scoring chances need to be derived from the play of his wingers. If they are not creative, he gets nothing. That combined with his stone hands give you the output you see.

    He tries to be creative, as he is an excellent passer, but his linemates are black holes. But, if I am Nash, I would rather shoot then give the puck to Stepan too.

    He is not gritty nor is he willing to work hard in the corners. He often hits the crest on the goalie. Rarely does he take shoot outs as he is not known as a precise shooter with moves.

    He is a 2-way player, but not a scorer. Is that what a #2C is?

    • Dave says:

      You’re the one that inspired me to write the post.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Players hit their peak at 28. With the miles he has on him, is it going to get better, stay the same or trend down?

      Should’ve sold at the deadline, must sell in summer.

  6. amy says:

    Derek is playing good enough but lets be honest between him and Mika it is one and one a like it was when brass was here looking at his linemates you have nash and Vesey so there are two guys that give him the puck alot

  7. Walt says:

    I have been super critical of Stepan for the obvious reason, lack of speed, grit, slow as hell, won’t battle along the boards, stone hands, etc., etc., etc.

    Now here’s where I piss off a few, how about the fact that he skates with Nash for a week, then he skates with Buch, then he skates with Kreider, then he skates with Zucc, then he skates with the janitor, see where I’m coming from???? The guy hasn’t had a set line to call his own from the beginning of the season, why? The person who decides who skates with whom isn’t Step, wait it’s AV!! What you say, you mean that maybe to a certain extent, it’s not his fault, Step that is? It always comes back to the tinkering doesn’t it, the uncomfortable feeling the guy must have after a line skates for 32 seconds, and doesn’t score. Hell he has to make wholesale changes again, due to his insecurities!!

    As for my position on Stepan, he is grossly overpaid for the production he provides. He should be moved before the NMC kicks in, otherwise we may be holding the bag while his play continues to decline…….. Now let the Marv defenders have fun at my expense!!!!!!!!!

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Many teams tinker their lines Walt, especially when there are injuries. And when lines aren’t scoring coaches will not hesitate to shake things up. Why do you assume this is specifically an AV issue?

      • Walt says:

        Because it’s constant, and has been the case since day one upon his arrival!!!!!!! What you say is true, I won’t argue the point, but not to this extreme though…..

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Upon his arrival there was a drastic decrease in line tinkering from his predecessor who was notorious for changing line mates and shortening his bench. So shouldn’t AV be a breath of fresh air for you? I think your perceptions are off, Walt. Not sure what else to say.

          • Walt says:

            Torts was short tempered, and definitely shortened his bench. Go back, I was one who thought he should have gone as well. You’ll also find that at first I was a fan of this coach, but as time passed, and his refusal to play nothing but the boys he likes, at the expense of the youth, I grew to dislike him to where I can’t stand him!!!!!! I went as far as to say what he did with Girardi’s broken knee cap, and Mac Trucks broken foot was borderline criminal. Everyone came down on me like stink on poop !!!!!!!!!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              If Girardi and McDonagh was cleared to play, which they were, how was what AV did borderline criminal? Wouldn’t therefore Jim Ramsey also be culpable? And by extension Gorton, Sather and Dolan for authorizing that a “borderline criminal” should be re-signed to one of the richest coaching deals in the league?

              Do you honestly believe that Gorton would re-sign someone who abuses key assets?

              Sorry my friend. What you are saying doesnt add up.

              • Reenavipul says:

                Three words: against medical advice.

                Almost everybody does it, just stupid to do it in the regular season. Last I read, the check clears just the same.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                But we have no idea whatsoever if that was actually the case, do we? And assuming you are correct and AV did go against medical advice, then obviously, Gorton, along with Sather, clearly have no issue with the decisions that he made. If they did, AV wouldn’t have been extended. He would have been fired.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      If you think AV is a tinkerer, and I assume you don’t like tinkerers, then you should be ecstatic that he was extended earlier this year. Because I can assure you, he keeps his lines as steady and any other coach in the show. I’m not sure how many teams outside of NY you follow, but all coaches juggle lines and in comparison to the field, AV is hardly a gross offender. If you liken line juggling to various retirement plans- AV would be your passively managed mutual fund.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Hear fhat Walt but that hasn’t stopped Krieder from scoring twice as many goals as Stepan. AV has moved everybody around. Vesey has been on every lines this year and still has more goals then Stepan. This team needs to be turned over to the young guns. I’ve said it for 2 years now that the old must be phased out but smartly. They came close but fell short sell high on guys like Stepan and don’t turn a blind eye to his play(like what happened with G and Staal).

      • Walt says:

        I understand what you’re saying, and don’t disagree at all. As for the kids, if they are bounced around so damn much, just imagine what they could do with linemates who develop some chemistry together, they could be lights out !!!!!

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Maybe….if there were talented enough linemates who were reliable enough. This whole forward group is good. But again, very few “shoot first” types. Too many passers, and few who instinctively want to finish.

          If you have a Crosby, a Malkin, an Ovie, a Kane, etc, its much easier to put young kids on a line and keep them together. Not so much with this group.

          Not exactly any GAG line types here. 🙂

  8. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Since the scoring drought for the team began in mid-Feb, Stepan’s stat line is 0-4-4. Pretty poor.

    Also during that time….

    JT (untouchable star who we will NEVER write a negative article about) Miller…1-3-4

    Kevin Hayes 2-2-4

    Rick Nash 2-4-6

    Chris Kreider 3-2-5

    Mika Z. 2-2-4

    Zuc 1-4-5

    Let’s face it, this is a team wide issue, but somehow its Stepan that’s everyone’s target.

    He needs to be better. They ALL need to be better. This is just a slump and to me it’s encouraging that they find a way to keep winning despite sub-standard performances from our best forwards. The cream rises to the top eventually, and I expect them to get hot.

    And based on past history, the guys I’d put my money on in the playoffs are Kreider and, yes, our whipping boy Stepan. He’ll get it going.

    • Dave says:

      That’s why I’ve really held off on this post. But Stepan’s went back to mid-January, so I figured he’d be the first post subject. But you are right that it’s a team wide slump.

      These things happen. Not worth getting worked up over.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Totally fair point Dave. No doubt that Stepan’s slump has been longer and therefore of greater concern. But the flip side is that as a veteran with a solid pedigree, especially as a playoff performer, I’d bank on him finding his form ahead of just about anyone else on that list.

        Good stuff as usual!

        • SalMerc says:

          And the fact that his slump has been so long is the alarming thing. He has had the longest stretch on down play. Maybe it is an injury or a persoanl thing, but he needs to pick it up. A #2C (yes and a #1C (thats you Mika) need to be better). The problem here is the value prop. For the money he is getting paid, you do expect more, and he just isn’t producing. Big stars get big money. They want the spotlight, they should produce. I hate Cindy, but he does the job. Stepan cannot say the same.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Sal-

            I hear what you’re saying but I don’t see Stepan as a star, nor is he being paid like a star. He’s pretty much making what a player of his caliber is supposed to make. He’s that next level down from those elite players (and given how he’s struggled this season, maybe two levels down).

            I know we get fixated on salary vs performance, and for good reason. But we have to remember that in all sports, salary is based on service time as well as performance. Once you have played a certain amount of years, typically, you are eligible for a big raise.

            I’m much harder on Miller, Hayes and Kreider because even though you can argue they are worth their current contract, if they are the true “untouchable stars” i keep hearing they are, isn’t it time for at least one of them to put the team on his back? All three guys, IMO, have way more upside than Stepan ever had. But so far, all we’ve seen is occasional flashes of brilliance from them. They need to step up if this team is to have a chance to legitimately compete for a Cup in the years ahead.

            It may still come. We shall see.

          • HARLEMBLUES says:

            Thank you Sal. Hear this guys second highest paid forward and number one center. 12 goals coming up on what 2 months.

            • SalMerc says:

              It just is not enough goal scoring for my Cap money.

            • Reenavipul says:

              Adam Oates put up a ton of points, just not a lot of goals.

              Step ain’t Oates, he’s Janney without a drinking problem.

    • Blue76 says:

      Forgot one … if memory is correct …
      Tanner Glass 1-1-2
      But only in the past two games.!

  9. Al Dugan says:

    Since Jan 17th (the break Dave uses), the NYR are 15-8. If they were 8-15, I could see being upset to the point of tearing my hair out.

    But, I always love the posters on the site who want to give away Step or Nash for a couple of used goal nets.

    I look at it this way. Jon Cooper and TBL are all genius, and Steve Yzerman is brilliant. But, they aren’t making the playoffs this year in the weakest year for their division in this century. That’s how Inget my fun!

    I trust what are people are doing because we tend to be there.

    • Walt says:

      Could be, but look at ALL the injuries they had this season. And also wasn’t that the same line up for the most part that beat us to go to the cup finals????????

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        The Rangers have lost significant man power games to injury this year. Not as much as Tampa but there is still significantly more talent on their roster than on ours. It’s been an ongoing topic on NHL Network Radio. What’s going on there?

        And why is the injury excuse valid now, but wasn’t valid when our whole defense was obliterated when they beat us in 2015?

        • Al Dugan says:

          Besides Stamkos? You can’t call Cally significant?

        • Walt says:

          Finally you admit we really don’t have that much talent, and you expect to make a long run?? As for the injuries, TB has had a hell of a lot, and that would explain their standings, over the long haul, vs a short series. E3 you’re comparing apples to oranges…..

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            I’ve said all along that this team has good but not great talent. So if you agree, why is the coach the issue when its the fact we don’t have the star power compared to the other legit contenders.

            When did I say I expect a deep run? This was supposed to be a 90-92 point team that would be a borderline playoff team. They will easily exceed the expectations. Again, credit to Gorton and AV. Could they make a long run? Sure, if they are healthy and get a few breaks? Do I think they would likely beat Pit or Was in a 7 game series? I do not.

            What do injuries apply only to regular season excuses and not post season? I don’t get it.

            In any event, we’ve been riddled with injuries as well and have overachieved. John (Genius ) Cooper, despite still having oodles of talented, healthy bodies, has underachieved. As I said, even the analysts on NHL Network Radio cant figure out why they have been this bad.

  10. genetics73 says:

    “After looking at everything here, the only inference I can make is that Stepan is simply just struggling right now. There are a ton of hockey cliches to use here, like gripping his stick a little too tight. There is just no simple answer to why he is struggling so much. It may be one of those things that the club just needs to wait out. It’s better he has these struggles now than in April.”

    A more pointless article is hard to imagine. One sentence would have been enough: “Stepan is not playing well, and who knows what is going on.”

    • Dave says:

      Dynamite drop-in Monty. That broadcast school really paid off!

      • paulronty says:

        Dave,

        Time to come up with a new dis line, this one is getting so old, the print on my computer is grey.

        • pas44 says:

          I like Dave’s line…

          I think this article brought up a lot of talk and some of it, not yours, has been pretty decent …

          why ya haten Dave’s comeback to your negative post dude?

        • pas44 says:

          my bad Paul, I was saying that thinking you were the genetics fella. lol

          I still like the major league line though…

          🙂

        • Dave says:

          I like paying homage to Major League, the best baseball movie in existence.

          • Hatrick Swayze says:

            Where do you rank Little Big League on your list? That’s tops for me.

            I will submit to paul’s accusation, but I don’t agree with it. A Dave Shapiro must be allowed to speak his mind to a commentator. Otherwise, he cannot fully do his job.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            My top five….

            1. Field of Dreams
            2. The Rookie
            3. Pride of the Yankees
            4. A League of their Own
            5. Eight Men Out

            Honorable mentions for…

            Bull Durham, Major League, Bang the Drum Slowly, Bad News Bears, The Natural

            But that’s just me….

            • pas44 says:

              Sand Lot always gets time when I pass it channel surfing…

            • paulronty says:

              Eight Men Out–great choice, one of the least mentioned, but one of the absolute best, Directed by John Sayles.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Agree completely. So well done!

                Two other I forgot because they are not theatricals….

                61* and The Bronx is Burning. The former was an HBO movie. Brilliant casting. Seeing my idol Mickey Mantle brought to life gave me chills and still does. The latter was an ESPN seven part series. Absolutely brilliant. I literally lived every moment of that season and that summer in and out of the ball park including the Blackout, Son of Sam, etc. And then just a few years later getting a chance to cover the Yankees, i really related to characterization of those players.

                So they are right at or near the top of my list!

  11. Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

    During Stepan’s first few years I commented to a friend that “the puck loves him.” What I meant was that he seemed to have a knack to be in the right place near the goal (not necessarily always right in front) to get rebounds, loose pucks, tips, or good passes into the slot. I haven’t seen him do that in a very long time. There’s no denying that he’s an excellent two-way center. And he’s still tied for 3d on the team in scoring – just 2 points behind Zucc and 5 behind JT. He’ll probably wind up in the top three as he always seem to do. The only problem is that he’s paid a bit more than his value. The biggest issue facing Gorton is whether to trade hi before his NTC kicks in.

    • Peter says:

      A fair assessment devoid of hyperbole.

      Stepan is a good player who is probably paid a little more than he should be paid. He is a decent 2C or 3C, but the Rangers right now do not have a true 1C unless Mika develops into one. The team as a whole is not scoring much, and neither is Stephan

  12. paulronty says:

    Yes Step is a heady player who passes well & he is well beloved because he is home grown, but his situation is a mirror image of the Staal & Girardi situations. Home grown is lovely, but it has to be irrelevant to a GM. Stepan’s contract is nothing short of ridiculous, & there were many disagreements when he was signed. Brass was getting 5 mil &, in my view, Stepan was worth about the same. This is the common Ranger mistake of overpaying for a homegrown guy who has delivered adequate or plus service, when that should be the time to move the guy on, just like they did when Callahan wanted an equally ridiculous contract. They wait till the last moment, trade deadline & impending FA & then dole out a stupid contract, complete with NMC, which hamstrings the team. It’s just bad contract management & Stepan is the latest case, and if not traded before his NMC kicks in , it will prove once again to be regrettable. JT Miller will be a much better centre over the next few years, although there are many who can’t fathom that he is a natural born centre–big, strong, good skater who can pass & shoot. The issue of his having to play with Hayes is irrelevant. Trade Step & move JT to Centre.

  13. joe K says:

    Stepan has become a real problem. Speed is not his strength an this team is way to fast for him. He is soft ,does not check with any authority, an is way overpaid. Yes He is a great penalty killer but so is Fast an others who are not making this type of money. We really look to move him maybe in the expansion has He is playing on a top line like a 4th line center. Oscar is doing more on the 4th line without top line players.

  14. craig says:

    They didn’t move Stepan at the trade deadline, probably because not many wanted him with his high salary. The problem I believe is that he is one of the soft players on the Rangers that wear down with the physical pounding as the year progresses and into the playoffs. They get worn down and banged up more then the stronger players. The same with Pirri and some of the other smaller less physical players. Can’t handle the pounding. The coach needs to consider this in playing them night after night with long ice time.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Stepan is one of the few Rangers that maintains if not elevates his play come playoff time. Over the last four playoff seasons, he has 16 goals in 60 games. Pretty darn good. He doesnt wear down come playoff time. quite the opposite.

      Again, I warn you, be careful what you wish for.

  15. tanto says:

    Nothing wrong with Stepan, leave him alone and he’ll break out of it —- and peak at the right time.

  16. bernmeister says:

    Agree w/most critical comments above

    He is like the 20th best 1C in NHL, no more no less
    Yet Step partisans are adamant

    he doesn’t have the speed or stud factor to deal w/elite/top Cs

    It is high time NYR repurpose his 6.5m

    Our C position is in terrif hands w/Zib/Hayes/Miller covering top 2 slots
    and Lindy at 3 or 4Cs.

    Next yr. Boo Nieves def makes squad at at least 4C, possibly higher if there is lightning in a bottle

    Move Stepan
    preferably w/McD + Buch + NYR 2018 3rd
    for
    MacKinnon + Avs 2017 2nd + acceptable cap dump

    • tanto says:

      Boy, that sounds like a terrible trade. You’re throwing in McD and Buch? If you’re including those two then we deserve Colorado’s 1st round pick (if it’s the top pick in the draft).

      Aside from the fact that the Avs don’t want to trade Mackinnon, a fairer trade would be Stepan, a prospect and a 1st for Mackinnon or Stepan, Graves, one of the goalie prospects and a 2nd for Mackinnon, or something of that order.