Archive for Derek Stepan

Derek Stepan has registered at least 53 points in each of the last four seasons

With the Rangers hamstrung by a tricky cap situation, several cumbersome no-movement clauses and few tradable assets that make sense to part with, there’s been quite a bit of chatter that Derek Stepan might be the most logical piece to dangle in exchange for a right-handed defenseman.

But while there’s some plausibility to the idea, dealing Stepan would also leave a gaping hole at center. So hypothetically speaking, how could the Rangers handle the crucial pivot position if Stepan were shipped out of town?

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derek stepan

Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire

One of the major talking points to come out of the disappointing playoff exit has been Derek Stepan. Stepan, the team’s top center and will be 27 years old in June, had a rough postseason. He had just two goals and six points in 12 games, and was one of the many key offensive threats that disappeared in the postseason.

It’s worth noting that before this postseason, Stepan put up lines of 5-10-15 in 24 games (2014 postseason), 5-7-12 in 19 games (2015 postseason), and 2-0-2 in 5 games (2016 postseason). I’m using the last three postseasons, as those were the ones where he was the top line center. So he’s producing about 0.5 points per game on average in the postseason. That’s not exactly terrible.

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Categories : Players
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rangers hurricanes

Nash has been good, almost great. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Where do you start with the Rangers top six? If you’re grading the offense as a whole, it’s fair to say you would give the team a strong grade – probably A level.

The Rangers boast an elite (at least statistically) powerplay, they sit second in the league in goals per game (3.4/game) and have scored more goals than every team in the league (144 at time of writing). However, when you break it down, has every player played to his own individual ability?

Rick Nash

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Photo: Charles Wenzelberg

For anyone watching the Rangers this season, it’s been clear that they need help on defense. More specifically, they need a true 1RD. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein, it’s clear neither of them are capable of being successful in that role. For the Rangers to be true contenders, an upgrade is needed.

However in the NHL, you need to give to get. If the Rangers are truly going to land a Dougie Hamilton or a Jacob Trouba, they need to give up something of value. A package of a bottom-six forward and a bottom-pairing defenseman is simply a laughable proposal. The Rangers need to give a top line forward in order to land their prized defenseman.

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michael grabner

Pavel Bur… I mean Michael Grabner… Photo: NHLI/Getty Images

People talk about the Rangers 5-2 come from behind win against the Pens as a statement game.  For me, the biggest statement games were the significant Blues and Lightning victories a couple of weeks back – I feel they were more complete games even if the comeback against the Pens was very impressive. For me, the Rangers gave up far too many high quality chances against the Pens on Monday. It wasn’t a quality defensive performance.

Michael Grabner could go pointless for the rest of the season and he’d already represent good value. His goal against the Blue Jackets last week summed him up best. His speed gives teams fits, he’s up on the play so quickly and once he’s away you cannot catch him. The way he settled the puck and finished his breakaway underlined the confidence he’s playing with right now. It was a goalscorers finish.

Oh, and another thing: Michael Grabner, Cy Young winner?

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Categories : Musings
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Nov
12

Derek Stepan is doing just fine

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derek stepan

As the Rangers continue to dominate the opposition with their speed, skill, and depth, one forward has become a rather polarizing player lately. Derek Stepan has been on the receiving end of a tremendous amount of backlash this season, likely due to his one goal in 14 games to go with his $6.5 million cap hit.

What is conveniently ignored in these discussions is that Stepan has nine assists for a total of ten points. He leads the team in assists, is tied for third in points, and is tied for the team lead in powerplay points (4) and powerplay assists (4). Stepan is on pace for a line of 6-59-65 over a full 82 game season.

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Categories : Players
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Stamkos vs. Stepan. Who wins?

Stamkos vs. Stepan. Who wins?

One of the more prominent rumors to come out of the weekend is that the Rangers are clearing salary in an attempt to go after Steven Stamkos. Since the source of the rumor hasn’t necessarily been right on much –Malkin to the Kings?– it’s something worth discussing, as the Rangers would need to create a spot at center for Stamkos. That means moving Derek Stepan.

When you hear the names, you think that these two aren’t even in the same ballpark. And if this were five years ago, you’d be right. That was when Stamkos put up three straight years of at least 45 goals (51, 45, 60) from 2009-2012. Since then, his goal totals have been 29, 25, 43, 36. Point totals 57, 40, 72, 64. Solid numbers, but not “blown away” numbers.

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kevin hayes

Hayes

We keep talking about how the Rangers are poised to make an array of moves to shake up both the roster and the organisation as a whole, but aside from signing Pavel Buchnevich (hurrah!) the team have been silent thus far. That may be because they aren’t done assessing the current situation yet; time will tell.

The Rangers are obviously going to need to reshape their defense – if they can – but perhaps the biggest decision they may have to make may be which center they have to deal. The Rangers don’t just need to shift cap space but they need to acquire assets and the Rangers best chance of a quality return – without negatively impacting any one specific position – may be moving one of their centers. It’s the position where the Rangers are deepest.

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derek stepan

Stepan (Photo: AP)

One of the more interesting viewpoints this offseason is that the Rangers need to trade Derek Stepan. The thought process here is that he “is not a true 1C”, “he doesn’t make anyone around him better”, and “he is overpaid.” Add on the apparent interest from the Minnesota Wild, and you have a lot of smoke around this.

While I am not opposed to trading Stepan in the right deal, I take issue with the above three statements. Stepan is not in the elite class of centers like Sidney Crosby or Anze Kopitar, but those are generational/elite talents, and few teams are privileged to have them. Stepan is in the class below that, as a solid center who can be any team’s 1C.

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Categories : Players
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sabres.nhl.com

sabres.nhl.com

It’s never fun enduring a long offseason while fans of other clubs get to enjoy a playoff run. This may sound a little spoiled to fans of teams like Edmonton and Calgary, but over the last decade, Rangers fans have been treated to a consistent expectation of contention. Since the Rangers have been eliminated, I have read a lot of great analysis about the importance of this offseason and potential directions for the club to go.

It’s going to be very difficult to handicap the exact moves from an analysis standpoint and hey, that’s up to you guys and gals anyway (shameless plug for the Off-season Plan Contest).   I have kind of a conceptual thought-dump I wanted to share about this coming offseason and to see how you are felt about some of these things…

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Categories : Musings, Offseason
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