Does it make sense for the Rangers to trade Derek Stepan?

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.

The complaints about Stepan go beyond his postseason performance though. He seems to be about a half step too slow for Alain Vigneault’s speed-based counter attack offense, and is a bit too methodical on the power play, refusing to shoot from the off-wing. His face-offs aren’t a strong point either. And honestly, these are all very valid arguments.

But I do get the feeling folks are missing the forest for the trees. In the regular season, Stepan is a shoo-in for 55 points, usually hovering around 17 goals. He’s been at that mark for the past four seasons, and has shown no signs of slowing down. He does this while, for the most part, driving possession relative to his teammates. He’s solid in all three zones, and a strong two-way center.

At $6.5 million, Stepan’s contract is certainly under scrutiny as well. Looking at his comparable contracts on CapFriendly, he falls on the slightly overpaid side of things. Names like Blake Wheeler ($5.6 million), Ryan O’Reilly ($6 million), Bryan Little ($4.7 million), and Derick Brassard ($5 million) are the top names that come up. Worth noting, though, that Little hasn’t played a full season in a while, ROR had the same production in Buffalo, and Brassard had 39 points this year. Wheeler had back-to-back seasons of 70 points, so he skews this a bit.

The concern when it comes to trading Stepan is replacing him. Players like him –strong two-way players who consistently put up 55 points and play 90% of the season– are very difficult to find. The Rangers don’t have an elite center like Crosby or Malkin or Backstrom or Kopitar, so they need to rely on depth down the middle to win.

We learned in the playoffs that Kevin Hayes may not be ready to handle 2C responsibilities. So in the event that the Rangers do trade Stepan for a defenseman, who has a no-trade clause as of July 1, the Blueshirts may fill one hole by creating another. Mika Zibanejad will certainly slide into the 1C role, but with Hayes’ uncertainty in the 2C role, the Rangers would need to find one on the open market. Maybe Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau on a one-year deal? That’s really it for top-six centers that are free agents.

It’s tough to make a call about trading Stepan at the moment. Simply put, it’s not worth it to just dump him. He has significant value to the team, and a 12 game sample in this year’s postseason doesn’t change that. Now if Stepan is dangled as a key piece to land a cornerstone right-handed defenseman, then I’m all ears. So like all questions about trading someone, it’s about the deal and the fit. Personally, I think trading Stepan creates a huge hole that is tough to fill. But if it’s Justin Faulk or Jacob Trouba, then I’m thinking long and hard.

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  • Just for the sake of trading him? No, of course not.

    But for a true top pair righty D man? I do that yesterday.

    • Two way player? Stepan is not ans has never been a 1st line center. He is soft, has terrible hands and will not shoot the puck
      His N.M.C. kicks in this Summer. The Rangers have to move him before his No Move Clause kicks in.
      If they dont move him you have another Girardi/Stahl scenario.

      • I agree that Stepan’s “skills” are not great. But he is a proven 50-60 pt player and although he did have a terrible playoffs this past year, he usually is ok.

        The Rangers’ problem is that they do not have that one elite center. They have 3 #2 Cs. So the depth part is what makes this work for the Rangers. Well, maybe not, they still don’t have a Cup, lol.

        We want a Cup but then just about every Ranger is deemed untradeable or too valuable for trade by the fan base. Can’t have it both ways. Which is why I trade Stepan for Trouba (pipe dream), Spurgeon (pipe dream), or Faulk (possible?)

        • I love These Forums, Anthony.

          (And reflexively, great respect to you, Dave.)

          But this one’s a doozy.

          Huh, Tera Patrick’s asking if she can come over and make sushi…

          Or, Kate Hudson wants to model her new yoga pants? Let me chew on that…

          With attendant seriousness, do we even need to ask this question only weeks removed from Stepan springing off the bench–in Montreal–to humiliate the very foundation of our franchise?

          What the f**k was that? You whitey-politely/passive aggressive punk bitch.

          Rather than show Henrik Lunqvist THE RESPECT he’s earned, year after heartbreaking year, Stepan comes out, flailing, and embarrasses him with that drive by.

          Why not close space, Derek?

          Why not tap his pads, throw a collegial, comforting arm around him? Tell The King, “Dude, you’re The Man. Take a breath. We’re behind you.”

          I can only hope that Henrik got His Fotiu on in the locker-room afterwards and slapped that goofy gopher.

          If our Shadow GM, Anthony/Richter can find a taker, hell yes, trade him: Spurgeon, Scandella or Justin Faulk.

          • Diamond Dave, no need to fall on your sword. Or further clarify. Contextualize.

            This 54-year old journalist knows what it takes to continually shape a necessary talking point. A forum for insightful discussion, and, hopefully, trenchant counterpoints.

            You bring it, man.

            Big stick tap to you.

            Yea, emotions remain raw. Piano wire taught.

            Stepan needs to go. Full stop.

          • Thank you FIG.

            Respectfully disagree on Stepan. I think he, like Stralman, is a guy we don’t fully appreciate until he’s gone.

            But of course, if it’s Faulk or Trouba or Dougie, I’m thinking long and hard. I likely pull the trigger there.

          • and that’s the point Dave, valuable asset for valuable asset, and hopefully improve the club by filling a huge need.

          • Dave
            Love your work!!! Thanks for articles!!!!!
            Here is what everyone is missing when you look at total stats without breakdown….
            Compare these numbers at even strength….

            stepan in 82 games has 13 goals and 37 points
            hayes in 76 games has 16 goals and 42 points
            miller in 82 games has 20 goals and 49 points

            PP numbers inflate a players stats and unless you watch stepan closely every game his stats make him look ok…….but when you watch him play….very unimpressive player!!

          • Bro, I was APPALLED at what Stepan did to Henrik. Appalled and disgusted.

            Who TF is he to do that? Especially since he shit the bed throughout the playoffs. IMO, the King can do whatever the ef he wants, he’s earned it and this franchise owes him big time for this era of “success” whatever that is. He and he alone is to get most of the credit for these past 12-13 years.

            So while I agree on that particular “incident” we don’t cut our nose off to spite our faces. You cannot trade a player based on emotion, it has to be a good business move so the emotion is out of it.

            Stepan is good not great but he does serve a function and role. But, would I trade him for getting (FINALLY) that righty true top pair D man? I will drive Derek to the airport.

          • Yes, how dare one of the eighteen guys getting the crap beat out of them every game dis the team prima donna. Yes, Lundqvist is a first rate goaltender, but John Tortorella was also a first rate coach. It was recognized that the time came for Torts to go.

            When all the credit for a team’s glory goes to one man, it is time for the team to part company from that one man. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, the Rangers are not a better team with Lundqvist than without Lundqvist. why that is may be mysterious, but it still is true.

          • Ray, you have a wealth of hockey knowledge (which I appreciate and thank you for), and I will ask you what I ask every other Hank detractor: If Raanta is the starting goalie then what is it the Rangers would do with that extra cap space that will make the Rangers a better team than without the King?

            The fact of the matter is, with very few exceptions, that a “game changer” never makes free agency. Their teams usually lock them up so who would the Rangers get with that cap space that makes the Rangers a contender without one of the best goalies in the world in nets?

            Raanta is a nice goalie but he’s barely played a full NHL season’s worth of games IN HIS CAREER, never mind in one season. So to “assume” that he will carry the load for 65 games plus playoffs is a stretch, to be kind. It’s like the rookie pitcher that mows batters down the first time around and then gets lit up the 2nd, when batters and teams have had a chance to scout him.

            I really don’t get it. The King has basically been the reason for the Rangers’ success and the resentment is off the charts.

          • Actually, my point is not that Raanta is so good. Yet the fact that the Rangers are as good with him as with hank must mean something. For starters, it proves that the Rangers are a good group of skaters who are not being carried by a super human goal tender. Beyond that, I am not sure. I do not think Raanta is that good frankly, so either the Rangers don’t like playing with Hank (in which case he should go), AV is playing a system which is incompatible with Hank’s strengths, or Hank is simply not as good as we think.

            Really though, my attitude is not as negative as you think. I just want to give the Ranger skaters more credit, which doesn’t happen when Hank sucks up all the oxygen in the room.

          • Thanks for clarifying Ray.

            There’s a reasons the Caps shit the bed in the playoffs, they cannot play the type of game that wins in the playoffs.

            So far, neither can the Rangers. Stretch passes usually do not work. It’s a grind it out type of game where teams that crash the net usually win out.

            The Rangers forwards are terrible when it comes to that. Very few forwards go to the net on a regular basis so the 2nd chance goals are not there, the kind of goals that win playoff games.

            Game 6 against TB, they crash the net and score 6 goals or whatever it was. Game 7 they revert back to the lollipop shots from the outside that you and I could stop,

            They have some good forwards but they are not great. Not even close.

            As for the system, right, I have said that as well. It leaves the goalie out to dry. AV did that to Luongo too in Vancouver. Add to that an awful D and it spells disaster. Which actually speaks to how good Henrik really is.

          • Hockey is just a hard game to assess. We both are smart enough to know about how good the Rangers are. The hard part is dividing up the strengths and weaknesses in what is sort of a zero sum game. I happen to think the Rangers have an average to above average defense; most here disagree.

            I just can’t understand how Hank makes so many highlight reel saves when no other tender can match him. Talbot and Raanta never have, yet get the same results with NYR. It just doesn’t add up. Most everyone here is convinced the conundrum either doesn’t exist or has nothing to do with Hank. I am just not so sure.

          • Part of the problem is the D cannot get out of their own way in their own zone. Say what you want about Clendening but he initiates tape to tape passes out of the D zone to move up ice. I have mentioned this before.

            With G and Staal back there flinging the puck aimlessly to usually no Ranger, it’s hard for the forwards to get into some sort of flow or speed game.

            Then there’s the forwards. Deep but not great, I mean let’s face it. They don’t go to the net like they should to get those garbage goals that yo need in the playoffs. Their PP sucks beyond belief, another playoff flaw.

            So your conundrum is actually very easy to answer: When the King is God like then he steals playoff games and series. When he is not God like and just a cut above even the better goalies in the league, it’s not enough to overcome the shortcomings of the team including the coach.

            If the AV system is the one they go with going forward, then get the D corps that can handle it and move the puck forward. Doing that will go a long way into making them a contender IMO.

          • “Bro, I was APPALLED at what Stepan did to Henrik. Appalled and disgusted.

            Who TF is he to do that? Especially since he shit the bed throughout the playoffs. IMO, the King can do whatever the ef he wants, he’s earned it and this franchise owes him big time for this era of “success” whatever that is. He and he alone is to get most of the credit for these past 12-13 years.”

            Yup. Still don’t see why this eludes quite a few people.

            I don’t know what some of you guys have been watching over the past decade…..

          • This is so off the mark, in my opinion.

            People need to divide criticism of Hank’s play from criticism of Hank’s overly emotional reactions at times.

            There seems to be this perception that those of us who are OK with what Stepan did somehow don’t appreciate what Hank has done for this franchise.

            Let me clear that up: Hank is an elite, HOF goalie, and I cherish every moment of success he’s given us. He’s been a joy to watch, and I hope to see him in Rangers blue for the rest of his career.

            However, Derek Stepan wasn’t calling out Hank’s play, nor does Stepan’s own play have any bearing on the appropriateness of him telling Hank to relax. By all accounts, Hank was losing it, yelling and screaming at the entire bench. The HNIC broadcast actually was tuning into this, with the between the benches analyst commenting on the situation. Something to the effect of, “I’m not sure what’s going on here, but Lundqvist is really giving it to his teammates rig but now.”

            Now, maybe Stepan felt that that situation might be getting out of hand, and as an assistant captain, decided to go calm Hank down. Maybe AV sent Stepan out there because he hears the tv broadcasters talking about it next to the bench and wanted to avoid a longer spectacle. Maybe the whole bench was talking about it, and Stepan decided to go diffuse the situation. We don’t really know, but Stepan is an assistant captain who’s played with Lundqvist for his whole career. I trust his judgment on this more than anyone just watching the broadcast and passing judgment on what was the appropriate response.

            And really, all he said was “Relax! Relax!” And you people are ready to crucify him over it?

            Absolutely insane.

          • Sorry Chris, no way.

            It’s not an overreaction when the hysterical goalie was RIGHT!!!!

            They deserved to get yelled at!

            They WERE playing like crap, and they lost that game (after, IIRC, blowing a 2 goal lead with 3 mins to play).

            If you don’t agree, turn on period 3 of game 6.

            Every guy that wasn’t skating like that (every moment they possibly could) during the season/playoffs wasn’t trying their hardest… as such, they got what they deserved

            The only insane thing is that people still want him on the team next year!

          • Thirty years ago, the Oilers had some pretty good teams. Messier, Fuhr, Coffey, Anderson, Kurri got lots of credit. Nobody ever suggested that that team owed everything to one player. Granted, Wayne Gretzky was no Henrik Lundqvist, but still.

            If (and this is a big if) Hank is worth five games a year, that’s a whopping ten points – ten points on a team that’s been getting about 100. If you want to argue that Lundqvist deserves 20-30% of the glory, fine, yo u can do that, more than any other player, fine. But when you start talking about owing him, him being above criticism, well, then it isn’t a team anymore. I know if I were a Ranger, I would want to go elsewhere. After all, if the Rangers do win the Cup, they will only put one name on it.

            Reality: In the playoffs, last year, Lundqvist never showed up. This year, he played well against Montreal, but lost to Ottawa 4-2. With Hellberg in goal, the series is also 4-2; I don’t know what happens with Raanta. I did not advocate using Raanta against Ottawa and still don’t regret using Hank, BUT gee whiz, he played poorly in Game 3 and not impressively in Game 4, while in none of the other games did he actually play well enough to win.

          • No Ray, he showed up (see rd 1).

            He’s just 35 & suffering from an acute case of ‘been-carrying-a-franchise-for-a-decade-itis’….

            … as such, he’s a little worn out from having to be perfect every damn game he’s ever played in.

          • Sorry Ray, I misread part of that. He wasn’t great versus PIT last year…. but the whole team was flat.

            It’s like they knew they had no chance even if they tried, and as such, they didn’t.

            Someone said this before (wasn’t me), but it’s true & it goes something like this.

            ‘If Lundqvist wants to win a cup, he needs to stand on his head 7 times out of 7 in a series, not just 5 or 6 times. From what we’ve seen, he’s just not quite “legendary” material, rather, he’s ‘only’ a shoo-in HOFer instead.’

          • I’ve said this before, but Hank is not an even-keeled tender. I don’t blame him for the Ottawa loss. I think he played near perfect hockey in game 1, but I do believe he was totally unsettled by the fluke goal that cost the Rangers the game. I don’t think he ever really recovered. In the end, I think he needed the Ranger skaters to carry him and they were not up to the task.

            I said before Game 6 – and I still believe this – that Hank would not be an asset in that game, but that if the Rangers could somehow get through that game (and they could have), Hank would regain his focus and give the Rangers a good shot at the Cup.

            As for the 2016 Pitt series, the malaise enveloped both Hank and the skaters. I’m not sure where the sense of futility began, but it took over. And it was sad, really. Yes, the Penguins were the better team. Still, the weakest team the Penguins faced took them to seven games because they never stopped trying. The series was not unwinnable.

          • “Yup. Still don’t see why this eludes quite a few people.

            I don’t know what some of you guys have been watching over the past decade…..”

            Same here my friend, it is a head scratcher for sure.

          • 5 of 17 goals in OTT series Hank gave up blocker side high, short side with the shooter on his off hand. Another one was glove side high short with the shooter on off hand.

            Food for thought.

          • Anthony and his Shattenkirk Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are in dispose of, Dr. Paulo.

            (Nurse Ratched is prepping Richter’s meds.)

            Fotiu will answer. No. The Captain stays put.

            Kreider gets Winterpeg. That big, dawning wakeup call. “Bye Chris. Don’t forget to take your teddy bear. Your pet turtle, too.”

            Then Stepan goes home. We add Trouba and Scandella.

          • No Pablo. McD is a top 15 D man and while Trouba is getting there, he is not close to that right now.

            Don’t forget that McD is playing against the top lines and opponents, Trouba is not as he is on the 2nd pair. McD is a much better player right now and still into his prime.

            I would say that McD is about untouchable as a player could get, not to mention his sweet cap hit from the Rangers’ standpoint.

          • Just wondering because that’s whom the Jets would likely want for Trouba, although I suspect the Jets would sweeten the package. Would you do Skjei even up for Trouba? There’s a tough one.

          • What do they want? That’s easy, a lefty version of Trouba. Which is Skjei but the Rangers will not do that, I don’t think.

            How about this?

            Stepan plus for OEL (Arizona) and OEL to Winnipeg for Trouba?

            I would not do Skjei for Trouba. Trouba is better but Skjei is getting there and he is much more cap effective and under the Rangers control for a while. Trouba needs a new deal after next season.

          • No, I’ve said this already Sjkei is our Trouba at less the cheddar. Why would you take on the extra money. Makes no sense.

  • That Nmc next year is a tough pill to swallow.

    Seems that people on those contracts on this team play horribly.

    At that point Stepan can’t be traded easily. That’s my concern more than his lacksidasical play, low passion level, slow foot speed and pathetic shot.

    You also compare him to wheeler who plays with nobodies in Winnie. Step plays with very good wingers and can’t even break 60 points in a season.

    • Step is not far behind Toews in points. Toews –while he put up one season of 75ish points– is usually a 60-65 point player, and has more than a few 55ish point seasons. And the guy makes $8 million.

      • and won how many cups??? the man is a leader, and plays with heart, have you ever seen him during any of the cup runs?????????

        he is a leader, Stepan isn’t.

        would you follow Daisy in a tough spot, no, because he would be behind you, as opposed to in front of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Toews and Kane have matching 10.5 mil cap hits which will prove to make the Hawks noncompetitive moving forward.

        • Yes and two Cups!!!! I’ll take that, since there has only been one in my lifetime. Give me two Cups in 5 years and then bring on the lean times!!!

          • They won three cups, but, that still doesn’t the address the fact that those deals were unnecessary (at least the Toews contract was). The Toews one, personally, I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

            Management there also seemed to go against the principle that helped them win their second two cups in the first place, which was, you can’t sign everyone to an open-market value contract & still expect to win.

            Remember how they dismantled & partially reassembled that team after 2010?

            Should’ve kept their own rule in place, I guess…

          • Remember how they got Toews in the first place or Kane or Edmonton McDavid the natural order of things. Instead the Rangers try and patch year after year. Which has lead to one cup in 75 plus years.

          • They got those guys because, when they were bad, I mean REALLY bad, they drafted brilliantly. When we were really bad, we drafted really poorly. And when we had an off year in 2010 and missed the playoffs, we drafted McIlrath instead of several better options including Tarasenko.

            Once that happened, the ship had sailed. Whatever picks we might have traded away since then were not going to be difference maker players. The Rangers had to patch it together as best they could from there. The team has had more post-season success than any other team in the past four years than any other team other than Anaheim and Chicago. So to a large extent, the approach has worked, even if it hasn’t resulted in the ultimate prize.

            But if they dont win a Cup during this cycle, it wont because they traded away picks. It will be because they didnt capitalize when they had favorable drafting position.

          • You mean, they got rewarded for losing on purpose?

            Lol, yeah…. sounds like a great idea; I’m totally bummed we didn’t do that!

            I’m glad BUF & COL weren’t handed participation trophies for tanking. Screw that.

            EDM… well…. at least they hired a guy dumb enough to trade Hall for No Hall & a guy they couldn’t tell apart from Jason Demers.

      • Chris
        You sound crazier than me! Towes is a leader, a passionate player who carries his team to stanley cups! He does everything it takes to win and like ‘messier’ wont be denied!!!!
        Stepan is just the opposite….soft as hell, slow, non aggressive, afraid of contact, impassionate……
        And dont forget he plays the MOST power play and regular time of any ranger and gets fed the puck in the slot while open because the defense are chasing zucc and kredier around the boards and net….
        Dont you watch the games?????

      • See if you look just at numbers you miss the play of the player. You can never mention Stepan with Toews owner of rings. Dave Kingman hit more home run than Joe D. You number guys don’t seems to get the game is played on ice not with spreadsheets.

        • Harlem-

          What a silly comparison. What that proves was that Kingman was a better home run hitter than Joe D. Which he probably thinks was (although if Joe D played in a ballpark more favorable to RH hitters, it might have been different). Kingman couldn’t hold a candle to Joe D in any other statistical measurement.

          Stepan’s stats matter–in context. And I will say this, he’s been more valuable thus far than any of our underachieving Untouchables.

          • Totally disagree. The point I’m making is that Joe was a better hitter and Kingman could be pitched to when you need a out. Joe was by far the more dangerous player. Numbers don’t show how dangerous a player is in Hockey because there’s to many variables and Stepan is in no way dangerous and can be pitched to.

          • And E3 I see you pick and choose what to respond to because the above was him mentioning Stepan with Toews. Please speak to that comparison.

          • I cant respond to everything. There’s so much here on Stepan-Toews I don’t know where to go with it, and I dont have time to re-read everything.

            Bottom line, Stepan is no Toews, obviously. But Toews is making millions more. I agree with Dave here. Already said it. Stepan is being slightly overpaid I would say for his output. Clearly, more was expected this year from him–I’m the first to admit that. But Stepan is a solid “next tier” type center that IMO is better than he gets credit for and gets way too much abuse on this site. And as such, he is being paid close to what his output is. He’s still a mid-50s point guy. Better than the alternatives.

            I’m not in favor of keeping him at all costs, nor am I in favor of dumping him for nothing. He’s an asset that can be moved, the same as the other assets we have that IMO have even more significantly underachieved (relative to their skill sets anyway) in your Untouchables, whom you NEVER are willing to criticize.

            I’d trade any of those guys if the return was right. I think the Untouchables are way overrated out here and my patience as a fan with all of them is running out. If they are really great, and we are supposed to win now, then where have they been in crunch time? Miller and Hayes have been invisible playoff performers and Stepan loooks like Messier by comparison quite frankly.

      • Seriously? Did you just compare Stepan to Towes? Had we a Towes on the team this spring, how many no show games would we have played? Or how many blown games in the last 2 minutes?
        There is your $2mil difference

      • Chris F we usually agree, as much as that probably makes you ill, but would you trade Toews for Stepan?? I’m sorry.. apples and oranges my friend….See Walt’s response

      • You all totally missed the point.

        I wasn’t comparing Stepan to Toews, merely pointing out that harping on Stepan for “only” being a 55 point center getting paid $6.5 million is a rather odd critique when there are guys like Toews out there putting up 60 points and making millions more.

        Toews is a first line center. Stepan is a first line center. These are statistical absolutes.

        Toews does a whole lot more, and is obviously worth more than Stepan, though he’s got a couple of Cups because he has a hell of a better supporting cast around him than Stepan ever has.

        Just putting Stepan’s production / cost in perspective.

        • Compare these numbers at even strength….

          stepan in 82 games has 13 goals and 37 points
          hayes in 76 games has 16 goals and 42 points
          miller in 82 games has 20 goals and 49 points

          And both miller and hayes average less ice time than stepan!!!
          13 even strength goals in 82 games……is he still worth 6.5 million??????
          I would trade him if he made 1/2 that ….he aint good!

  • Derek Stepan consistently puts up ~55 points, which makes him a top-30 center and a top-60 scorer in the League.

    This season he was on the ice for 1051 shot attempts for, second most on the team, and sported a 50.75% Corsi (51.95% Fenwick). His xGF% was 53.42%, third on the team among regular starters. His SCF% was 53.56%. His actual GF% was 59.49%, best on the team. He’s on the right side of 50% on just about every objective measure of possession and scoring.

    Over the course of his career he’s rocked an actual GF% higher than all but 5 players who’ve played in the League over that time frame. Put another way, since Stepan broke into the League he’s driven scoring for his team at the 6th highest ratio among all active players during that time.

    He’s clearly an effective player, and definitely meets the standards for a lower tier 1C.

    But, I would trade him if it brings back a 1RHD to pair with McDonagh, while protecting Lindberg who would get promoted to 2C/3C duties.

    • “But, I would trade him if it brings back a 1RHD to pair with McDonagh, while protecting Lindberg who would get promoted to 2C/3C duties.”

      I agree and that’s my thinking all along Chris. They shouldn’t just trade him for the sake of trading him.

      What D men would you look to acquire for Stepan?

      • I don’t think you’re going to get a 1st pair RHD for Stepan. Due to his skating and contract, a solid 2nd pair RHD would be good enough.

        As for Lindberg, I’d really like to see him stay, but 3C is about as far as I’d push that envelope. 2C looks like a real stretch.

        On Stepan; I like him, but due to circumstances the trade needs to be made. But people need to realize he’s nowhere near bringing back a Trouba type.

        • I was quoting Chris but I agree, 3rd line C here, for sure, and a very effective one at that. Oscar is a lot better than people think. He played against adults in Sweden in the Elite League there and was a stud the last year was there, I believe the MVP of the playoffs.

          The guy SHOOTS the puck when in position and has good hockey smarts. The injury set him back but as you see started to regain the momentum he had before the injury.

          IDK, I can see Stepan plus for a top pair D man. It would have to be to a team that is rich in D men but lacking in offense. That’s Minny and Carolina to me. People will say “not Minny!!” but how did their playoffs go?

      • Heading into a briefing, but off the top of my head Jacob Trouba (which won’t happen because Winnipeg is all but committed to him at this point) but otherwise possibly John Klinberg or Chris Tanev.

        I’ve been pretty high on Tanev for a few years now and the buzz is Vancouver might shop him as part of a 3-year plan to retool. Superficially, it appears he had a rough year –though if you scratch beneath the surface I think he did fine on an abysmal team– and as such his trade value might be lower than usual.

        • The real wildcard here is the NMC. This seems to bite us in the last 2 to 3 years of every contract. We need to make a choice NOW on Stepan. While his numbers are satisfactory, not great, he will never shine come the big stage, as he often looks to move into the shadows. Not what you want you #1C to do.
          Can we easily replace his #1C skills? No. Can we use him to augment our deficient back line? I say yes. I think we accomplish a few things; we unload an NMC, we let go of a player who shows no emotion and we utilize a trade chip to fill a gaping hole without creating another gaping hole, I say that because we have some players we can put there. JT, & Lindberg being candidates to move up.

          When it is all said and done. AV and Stepan both probably will be back.

        • Hmmm , Tanev, I’ve heard his name bandied about among Ranger fans for a couple of years now. You think he’s at the level of making it worth trading Stepan for?

          The Canucks can certainly use offense and someone like Stepan, so there appears to be a trade fit there. I wonder if that’s enough for Stepan though. Tanev’s not so obvious #s are pretty good and I think that he is a byproduct of an awful team, so putting him with McD would probably bring out the best in him.

          I like Klingberg a lot and would welcome that trade.

          • I would do that, yes.

            Hayes has a ton of talent, but my gut tells me that he will not realize his full potential.

            Put Zuc’s heart into Hayes’ talent and you have a superstar player.

          • LOL, easy Harlem. 🙂

            What I was saying is that players’ quality of play is obviously influenced by teammates, especially D men, correct? So what I’m saying is that with the right partner Tanev could become a very good player if paired with the right pairing partner, like McD.

            I believe Tanev’s game is there but not evident because of the team he plays on and the teammates he plays with.

    • Chris

      Again with the top 30 nonsense, the guy is gutless, and I want men on my team, Daisy doesn’t qualify in that category!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Also, I suspect he is a robot, never seems emotionally involved, passionless!!!!!!!

          • That doesn’t mean he’s a top 30 that’s just scoring and how many teams are there. The Rangers number one center is the worse number one in the NHL. That’s great. Things that cups winning teams are made of. He sucks and some point to spreadsheets LOL.

          • My statement of “Stepan is in the top-30 in scoring among centers” is objectively true. There really isn’t much to argue there.

          • Again Dave here are his numbers this year without the man advantage inflated power play numbers….

            82 games 13 goals
            82 games 37 points
            82 games 2 game winning goals
            82 games -led team in minutes played

            Let that sink in….37 total points in 82 games!!!

          • Rich-

            In a combined 76 playoff games, Miller and Hayes have 3 goals. THREE!

            Let THAT sink in for a bit.

            The two most overrated “stars” in history.

          • And that is a perfectly valid argument. Is Stepan worth his contract? That is a discussion with subjective analysis. I am in the camp that he is, and others are not.

          • Agree with you here Dave. Stepan appears to be a below average #1 center. Yes, a better #1 is a good idea, but one needs a plan for getting one.

            As for money, the reality is that it is better to pay a $5 million dollar center $6.5 million than it is to not have a $5 million center at all. Almost no one is properly paid. Evey team is an assortment of overpaid players and bargains. If you stick to bargain players, you can’t get enough quality.

          • Dave

            I won’t dispute the data, but there are 30 teams in the NHL, and the guy happens to be rated in the top 30, woopy dooo! Again, I think he is at best a 2nd line center, and I certainly am not a fan of his game!!!!!!!!!!

            Case in point, Artie is a second line center for the Hawks, he brings more to the table than does Daisy, see where I’m coming from???????

          • You’re right – he’s an ‘elite #2C’, so to speak. Only a number one because of the absence of sufficiently spread out talent in the NHL today.

            Hopefully other teams were too busy watching their own tire fires to not notice ours.

            Also, I could be wrong but, Artie I think benefited from a nice SH% this year.

        • He has to be low on that list.

          A top center who has yet to crack 60 puts and has a 45% face off win rate.

      • Walt-

        Gutless? Wow. That’s pretty harsh. What makes him gutless?

        Sorry, totally disagree. A protypical Ranger for this era. Good but not great player who I’d trade in a heartbeat for the right guy but would not just dump for the sake of moving on.

        • He never goes into the dirty areas, that to me is gutless!!!!!!

          He never battles along the boards, that is gutless.

          He always dumps the put, never carries it over the blue line that is gutless.

          Enough examples??????????

          • Well actually Prust broke his jaw -but yes, there’s no doubting Stepan’s toughness. There are reasons to trade him but that’s not one of them.

          • Who cares, as a hockey player if you have all your limbs then you’re ready to go. Bergeron played with worst when the Bruins won it back in 11. Crosby gets it the worst every yead and still does his thing, Mcd played on a broken foot.

          • Mint,

            The point isn’t that Stepan is special because he played through a broken jaw, it’s that he definitely isn’t soft and gutless.

            Why do you give Bergeron, Crosby, and others credit for playing through injuries, but deny Stepan credit for playing through the playoffs with a wired jaw eating through a straw?

          • I think the problem is, the team would be better served by trading him for something we badly need (top RHD)…. We have a few guys who are close to him in terms of what he brings (zibby could be 1c)… the top RHD? not so much

          • I vote as gutless player who watches his teammates get dirty. He didn’t break it in a fight and how many of us have gone to work with broken bones. I have he’s a candy ass who this team doesn’t trade and keeps as the 1C will never win a cup.

        • GUTLESS because when a rookie , Vesey, was getting double teamed by a couple flyers in preseason or early season, instead of getting involved STEPAN FREAKEN SKATED AWAY like a gutless p@#$%^&y!

          3E , I do respect your opinions, but honestly, in stepan case Dont you watch him play ???
          I cant think of a softer player we have ever had……

          Forget the numbers ,[ he gets most minutes on power play and regular and short handed ]….. HE flat out stinks!

          • Forget the numbers? That’s a new one Rich! Sports are about numbers. I’m not saying numbers are everything, but you cant forget the numbers. I’m sure you wouldn’t be willing to forget your “Untouchables” regular season numbers (although I’m sure you are desperately trying to forget their post-season numbers!).

            Dave nailed it. He is not an elite player. He may be a bit overpayed for his output this past year. More was expected for sure. But to say he “STINKS” is flat out inaccurate and i doubt ANYONE in the NHL community would agree with you.

            He’s that next tier down–not an elite player but a good solid player. And I would be terrified to lose him only to turn it over to underachievers like Miller or Hayes, that’s for sure.

            Where I do agree is that he is a bit of a poster child for what ultimately keeps this team from succeeding. He’s another in a long line of good but not great players that keep us from being nothing more than a good but not great team.

            I’m all in favor of trading him for an upgrade. I am not in favor of dumping him for minimal return.

          • Stop being so scare E3 Life after can be wonderful. Each of the youngsters have potted more goals in a season than candy ass. I have no problem turning the team over to them. Thats what needs to happen move on from the like of G, Staal and Stepan. It’s will be ok.

          • OK 3E
            argue with these numbers…
            All EVEN strength numbers since miller and hayes do not play much power playe being 3 rd line players………….

            player games played even str.goals e.s. pts
            stepan 82 13 20
            hayes 76 16 25
            miller 82 20 49

            Obviously 5vs 5 stepan SUCKS !!!! 20 even strength points for the entire 82 game season!!!!
            HIS numbers are inflated because he gets top power play minutes!!!!!!!

          • OOPS
            Math mistake

            Stepan in 82 games 37 non power play points

            Hayes in 76 games 42 non power play points

            And both miller and hayes get less ice time than stepan!!!!

    • Stop with the numbers and look at the tape to see how he gets those numbers. He doesn’t drive anything because he get top ice time with the top players he gets credit for being on the ice. He’s a compiler he doesn’t drive he’s a passenger. If the Rangers don’t trade him before that NMC kicks in another G and Staal. I’ve said this for years you don’t win a cup with Stepan as your number one or on your team. Keep looking at those spreadsheets like a agent.

  • i would be open for trading him if it truly upgrades the team. All this rhetoric about he’s not a #1C so trade him I just don’t buy. He isn’t an elite center, that’s obvious, but if you trade him then what are we left with? Unproven centers who have never produced at levels that he has. Zib may be that guy who can put up his numbers, but he hasn’t done it yet. All we saw this season was inconsistency from him (he gets the benefit of the doubt due to injury though) and while he put up decent #s in the playoffs, he didn’t exactly light the world on fire. Hayes let everyone know he isn’t up for the job yet. So I’m not a fan of handing the keys over to players who have historically produced less than Stepan. 50-60 points centers don’t exactly grow on trees (it took trading a 40 goal scorer to get Brassard).

    If it upgrades the team (1RD?) then I would be open to it. But you don’t trade him just because “he’s not a 1C”.

    • everyone is saying the same thing, get a decent return, defenseman for him.

      he isn’t elite, so why pay what we do, for so little in return???????

        • Until you ask questions without being a smart ass, I’ll refuse to answer!!!!!!!!!! Besides the dude isn’t elite by no stretch of the imagination!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Not according to Elliotte Friedman. He thinks he will be back most likely.

          • It’s funny how you diss people who actually do this for a living who are pretty wired in. Of course, you would be the first to use Friedman or any other media source if he reported on a narrative that you agreed with.

            I’m not saying Friedman is right or wrong. I merely offer it for what it is–an opinion from a guy who has forgotten more hockey than you have likely ever known.

          • I really don’t know how much hockey paul knows, or Friedman for that matter. But the notion that professionals know more than hobbyists as an absolute rule is absurd. What professionals have is access – and that can be a plus, but if the passion isn’t there and the thinking, it hardly matters.

            Surely people like Friedman and Brooks (whom I like actually) don’t have the knowledge that Josh does, for example. And I’ll bet some of the posters here whom I have had the audacity to disagree with are in the same category. Just because someone knows more that you or I doesn’t mean they know more than the person we are talking to.

          • On a certain level, you are obviously correct. Without facts, everyone is merely engaged in speculation. And I would agree. If it’s just a beat assignment and the passion for the game is not there, then yeah, I’m with you. My sense of Friedman is that he lives and dies hockey. He is a go to source on NHL Network and other outlets. He’s not a guy who’s lacking passion for the game.

            Maybe I’m biased because of my own background, but here’s the thing. When I was on the Rangers beat in the early 80s, I clearly knew more about what was going on on behind the scenes than my Rangers buddies did. Sure, they could guess and say, “Hey bro, I have a feeling Nicky Fotiu may be re-acquired.” And they could be right, based just on a hunch. But if I said the same thing, it would be based on a hunch based on conversations with people on the inside who have insight to what may be going on. Once I lost that access, my perspective was no different than anyone else’s. But trust me, if you have access and you establish yourself, there are ways to get reliable inside info. No one better on the Rangers beat IMO than Brooks and Carp.

            Until a story is actually a story, it’s just speculation. Even if there are well-sourced rumors. Our buddy Richter has well-placed sources that say Shatty to the Rangers is already done. He may well be right, so I respect that. But I bet Richter wouldn’t bet his mortgage on it, simply because things can change.

            In the end, you said it. Guys like Friedman and others aren’t always right. In fact, they are often wrong. But they have sources and access that we don’t. Therefore, their take carries a lot more weight IMO than anything you and I can offer here.

            I’m in the news business. If I want to try and specualte what’s going to happen next in Washington, I’m not going to run a news story saying the knowledgeable bartender down the street thinks that North Korea is going to launch a missile tomorrow. But if a well placed inside source says it, he may be wrong at the end of the day, but I think I’ll go with the inside source over the knowledeable bartender. 🙂

          • 3E
            What do you make of these numbers ???
            Compare these numbers at even strength…Without the advantage of inflated PP numbers —-

            stepan in 82 games has 13 goals and 37 points
            hayes in 76 games has 16 goals and 42 points
            miller in 82 games has 20 goals and 49 points

            And both miller and hayes average less ice time than stepan!!!
            13 even strength goals in 82 games……is he still worth 6.5 million??????
            2 game winners in 82 games!!!!
            Any response ?

          • You people have a really arbitrary idea of what elite is….

            It’s like Dave said, he’s technically a top-30 two-way centermen who puts up 55ish points a year.

            6.5 is fair market value these days for that.

          • And on this…you and I are in complete agreement. All the Stepan hate is just SO overblown and frankly incredibly unfair.

          • May be that’s the problem, Weiner, 6.5 is too much in this era of the cap. Before cap, I couldn’t care less what Dolan paid these guys, but now the cap requires us to be more vigilant. I hate the money aspect, this is about a cup! A CUP! The question is, is the 6.5 we pay him going to help us to the CUP, if not, cut ties!

          • So the PP doesnt count anymore? Interesting!

            I dont know what to tell you. Stepan is a decent center but not a star. never said he was.

            But Miller and Hayes are playoff no-shows in every single year of their careers so far. Unacceptable for so-called “Untouchables”.

    • What has he proved or won? You sound just as candy ass scare as Stepan plays. GOD move the FCK on from these guys. You wonder why only one cup since 1940 sticking with obvious losers to long. Turn the page it’s ok. You trade Stepan and bring in a crease clearing RHD and bring up Boo. Stepan wouldn’t be missed. He’s not even top 30 center in the NHL every teams top center is better some like Pittsburgh or Edmonton have two. He’s Dave Kingman.

      • Boo has proven nothing. I have no problem trading Stepan, but if you think the answer is to promote the guys we currently have and think THAT is what will win us a Cup???? Sorry, no chance.

        Trading Stepan to land a RHD and then making a blockbuster deal for a center? That I would do.

        • Who gets you the top center what package? Boo centers the fourth line I have faith he can do it. Every player is unproven until their number is called. I say call Boo’s for the fourth line job. Trade Stepan for RHD or young center or number 1 pick. But trade him and now. No chance only implies to winning a cup with Stepan on this roster. But if you’re into boy wonders candy asses or prima donna’s he’s your guy. Top 30 in a 30 something team league that’s great. LOL.

      • Boo Nieves has a history of concussions and missed a good part of the year, including the finish. Maybe he will be successful in the NHL, but it would be crazy to count on him. Frankly, I think it is in his best interests to hang up his skates.

      • You are awfully angry today huh?

        My whole point is trade him Because he doesn’t produce like a 1C should in your eyes only to have less productive players take his place?. Big bad Boo to the rescue!

        • I’ve stated in many post why Stepan should be traded. I’ve also said that a helpful return must come back in any trade. If a package for a 1C can be put together then we have our 4 centers in place. Boo comes into play if a FHD is coming back in a trade for Stepan. He wouldn’t be called upon to save the franchise just center the 4th line. Answer this Stepan lovers why is our number one center the worse number one in the league and worse then some number twos(Geno). You don’t win a cup that way. I want Ryan Johnassen from CBJ but NSHVille had Seth Jones to give up. Speaking of NSHVille they traded the franchise Shea Weber and Seth Jones young star and they’re in the final four. But we so love Stepan here. Shea Weber was traded. You have to move on in life.

          • Valid point. And what Nashville did is what I’m hoping the Rangers do–one or two blockbuster deals that change the face of the franchise. Which is why I’m very open to trading Stepan, McDonagh, Hayes, Miller and/or Kreider for the right return.

  • it is about money and Derek is making a lot of it what Gorton has to look at is what he needs he needs defense to get it younger and what you do build around Brady, and Ryan Mac and Smith try to resign him and Step basically didn’t have a great playoff see what you can get for him

    • I’m sorry Amy, I normally like your comments, but you really need to learn punctuation, It’s taxing. I’m starting to just move past when I see your name.

  • You trade him because you need the money for roster reconstruction. Nothing about performance or his style.

    Between buying out either wonder twin and paying Ziba/Miller/Hayes, you need to move him/lose him in order to have any level of room under the cap.

    You have replacements in both Hayes and Miller(if anything, Hayes will improve as a 2C as he’s not going head to head against the 1st line like he did during his “slump”.

    • At a static $73m cap, you can buyout both Staal and Girardi and still have room for Shatty (6×6), Ziba (5×5), Smith (4×4), Lindberg (2×1.25), and Fast (2×1.25).

      This assumes Holden is taken by Vegas and you trade a mid pick with Klein to a team with cap space for the dump. This also assumes Bereglazov and Graves take the bottom pairing.

      • It’s a great plan to get AV to quit, that’s for sure.

        Would have to offer a pick to move Holden.

        Would have just under $6mm to sign 2 more D and 3 F on short term deals.

        • You can play around at CapFriendly – it works out.

          Also – don’t think you need to offer a pick to trade Holden. His scoring line has value.

          • Hey, a break!!

            Holden’s stat line is padded with a boatload of 2nd assists(11). Lower P60 @ 5vs5 than Skjei(2nd best among regulars though.) Everything screams outlier, especially when you watch him play D in person.

            I tried to do a couple of different queries, but I broke Corsica.

            As for Shatty, just don’t get it. A 6D at 5v5(for 2 teams this year), who would play PP1 except for the fact that AV didn’t do it with Yandle and is now doing 4F, 1D. Why would he change?

            So now you’re gonna pay $6mm for a 6D who plays on the 2nd unit? That screams luxury at a time where you’re talking about eating a lot of dead cap space.

            The not good at defending doesn’t help either.

            Hopefully Wednesday/Thursday I can sit in front of a proper computer and sketch out 3 yr plan scenarios.

    • He actually went head to head against the best this year compared to last season. He would have ended the season in the high 50s by April if Grabner was finishing but I agree that we have him and JT. I think finding a 3c this summer is a must imo because JT can’t handle it. Hayes has a whole highlight reel of ripping apart top 4 D men this season, my favoritewas against Ellis and Josi, I think they’ll definitely get rid of Stepan for various reasons and bump up Hayes to 2c.

      • That’s just gravy. If this was Logan’s Run, his crystal is just about to turn red.

        The team has centers below him (in their prime)that outperform him at P60, both of whom will need new deals after next season. Trade Step and you can extend them at a below market rate. Then you buy out the wonder twins, so when that dead cap hit goes from $4.73mm to $5.73mm to $6.73mm you have more flexibility.

        You keep Step and when the NTC kicks in, the team is handcuffed.

  • We have Nieves in Hartford, he should be ready to take on a 3rd or 4th C role. Stepan does not make the players around him better, I’d go as far as saying that the players that surround him are how he gets his points. Nieves or Miller in the center position can be a placeholder until that #1 or #2 center becomes available.

      • Agreed about JT not really being a center anymore. He basically made it known that winger was his thing a few summers ago. When especially after he lost it to a rookie fresh from the NCAA who hasn’t played the center role within the last few years at a competitive level. JT had 1 good game while Hayes was out and went cold until he was moved back to wing. I still think that Stepan is a goner this summer though, just about every point is leading up to that future roster change.

    • JT Miller IS Stepan’s replacement & is already on the roster. He’s a natural born Centre, except it’s beyond AVs perceptual ability. Now is the time to trade Stepan or suffer the consequences.

          • If you want to put him in a position to succeed and get the most out of him, then leaving him at wing is the best bet.

            Miller, with all his solid play, is not necessarily the best defensively. Wingers have a much easier job than centers in the DZ. I fear that moving him back to C (where he hasn’t played regularly in at least 5 years) puts him in a position to fail.

          • I 100% agree with this. I think it takes a certain maturity, and also a defensive mindset to go along with scoring and playmaking skills, to be a 1C or even a 2C on a Cup contender. I’ve seen nothing in Miller’s play that suggests he can do that..and least yet.

          • If he can’t play defensively what was he doing on the PK, and doing it well too. I disagree boss, he’s a natural born center, as the coaches at the World’s confirmed.

      • 100 % correct…….the coaches in last years USA /world tournament made the statement JT MILLER is a natural center ……
        His skills definitely make him a center!!!!!

        Dave..He is not a center anymore??? Doesn’t make sense……

    • Nieves is a 3rd liner like Fast is a 2nd liner: Looks the part, but that’s about it.

      Strictly 4th liner based on offense.

      You can take a chance on bumping Oscar up or take a flyer on another Pirri type.

      As for fixing RD, I’m pretty sure MDZ is going to be available on the cheap.

  • Oscar Lindberg if given the opportunity, on a first or second line, may be the guy to step in and get 40-50 points and play an all around game. Some heads must roll in the off season if the Rangers are going to expand and excel. Stepan as good as he can be at times, may have to go due to his high salary. There are to many similar type players on this team. There must be a change in chemistry. A big question may be, is AV open to allow a change not only in personal, but in the chemistry of the team?

    • AV has input obviously, but to say “will AV be open to change” is a overstatement. It’s not his call to make. Managing the cap and decisions about the roster for now and the future is Gorton’s call.

      Let’s put it this way. If AV wields that kind of power over roster decisions SUPERCEDING Gorton, then buckle up. He will be here for a long time.

  • First of all I’m all in for a major change, with Daisy being the first to be shown the door. We are in dire need to replace at least three men on the D, and if we can a nice return to improve the D, bey bey Daisy.

    This team also needs a new leadership group. Look I love Mac’s game, maybe he should wear an A on his jersey, but the other three should be replaced as well. We need a guy to grab this team’s attention, and demand performance from his team, not go around with this “shucks guys, we have to try harder” crap.

    Bottom line, we need a new culture in the locker room, with more desire, fire in the belly, and demand the best out of the guys, not settle for we made the PO’s, that’s a great accomplishment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Walt,

      Love ya, but you have no idea what Stepan means to the team emotionally. TBH, I think he is actually the Captain.

      All this talk about buying out #5 and #18 and moving guys with anything over 6 on a cap hit is just plain dumb. Nothing like dead cap space in a non expanding cap atmosphere.

      Let’s see. Krieder had his best season ever playing with Derek. Zucc was also good again. Our top line was very good and consistent most of the year. Step says he couldn’t get it going down the stretch. And I appreciate the honesty.

      Do me a favor. Check Kopitar’s line this year at 10 million.

      • In 2014, Prust broke Stepan’s jaw. Came back just a few games later and played through it. In 2015, Belesky broke Stepan’s ribs. Step comes back ahead of schedule and plays through it.

        Seems to me he’s the exact OPPOSITE of gutless. And I agree Al, I can see the argument for making him captain over McDonagh.

        • You’re confusing ‘being tough’ with ‘being a tough guy’, which is something that no one has accused him of being.

          He doesn’t bring something that others do in great abundance (watch what a guy like Kesler does),

          As such, we’d be nuts (considering the contracts of our centers) not to try & get something we need for him.

      • And add to that, when Step broke his ribs in 2015, the team had arguably its worst stretch during the AV era, essentially unraveling until he came back.

        All you Stepan haters, all I can say, be careful what you wish for here.

      • Al

        Also are you enamored with the prospect of his being here for another 5-6 years, with a NMC? If so, well, we have to disagree!!!!!!!!!

      • There is zero signs of Stepan being cool with the guys on this team so that emotional propaganda is BS. You never heard of a young guy looking up to Step. Then after all the great vets that have come and go you never heard of this lame duck being under the guide of them. From social media to reading interviews or how the guys summers are going I never hear about Stepan being in the mix. Hayes in his 3 years as a NYR seems to have the locker more under his wing, I love seeing interactions but this guy is never in it. I remember one year he was telling the press over the summer how he was grateful to have at least Kreider show up at his wedding because that was the only NYR who showed up! Zucc? I doubt it, he’s actually emotionally cool with guys like Hayes bringing him back to his homeland during the off time, he wouldn’t do that with Stepan lol, I bet he’s more cool woth Brassard still.

        • Hayes has the locker room more under his wing??? OMG, that could be the most absurd statement of the week! Hayes has shown ZERO leadership ability, came to camp out of shape last year, was arguably the Rangers WORST player down the stretch this year and was practically a playoff no-show.

          Other than that, yep, he has the pulse of the team.

        • Harlemblues…..Spot on !
          here are stepans stats without power play numbers which inflate them……compare to miller and hayes also with out power play numbers…..

          stepan in 82 games has 13 goals and 37 points
          hayes in 76 games has 16 goals and 42 points
          miller in 82 games has 20 goals and 49 points

          And both miller and hayes average less ice time than stepan!!!
          13 even strength goals in 82 games……is he still worth 6.5 million??????
          I would trade him if he made 1/2 that ….he aint good!

    • Walt, while I think you are being too harsh on Stepan, I do agree with your overall premise. We need to make one or two BIG trades here to change the culture. But if Stepan is dealt without adequately replacing him, I think the team takes a massive hit. Like Friedman said the other day, he’s one of those players that a team will miss when he’s gone.

      • See Miller, or Lindburg or Boo as replacements, all younger, stronger, faster, cheaper, and willing to get dirty.

        • It doesn’t matter! He’s definitely being moved, our say means nothing but people should start to read the signs.

        • Boo has played one NHL game. We have NO idea about him. None.

          As for Mint, could well be that Stepan will be gone because of the impending NMC. But they had better be sure that they can replace him. The options Walt lists to me would be a significant downgrade.

      • You & your FN Friedman!!! Is Don Cherry your hero too. I bet you wear suits just like his around the office! 🙂

        • A little too flamboyant for my tastes. 🙂

          Again, I have no idea why you take pleasure in tearing down professionals who do this for a living. Doesn’t mean he’s right or wrong. His job is to sniff around and see what he can find out. Based on what he can gather (which even if it’s just a nugget is still more than what either you or I can say here since we have no sources to go on), that’s what he believes. Doesn’t mean he’s right. He’s not saying it won’t happen. His quote, since you are the master of distortions and inaccuracy, was (paraphrasing) “The Rangers will listen on anythng, but they are not expected to be actively shopping Nash or Stepan. Stepan is one of those guys that will be hard to replace and is the kind of guy a team will miss once he’s gone.”

          So his belief is based on sources he has cultivated. Unlike you who shoots from the hip and declares it Gospel. I’m just passing it along. Sorry if people who have actual sources on things offend you.

          But I forget, you went ballistic two years ago when Hockeys Future dared to say that Skjei actually has a legit upside while McIlrath does not. The world according to Paul. Drink the Kool-Aid or be tarred and feathered!

          • Wow…newsflash! Yes, of course it’s just conjecture. Nobody knows for sure. But obviously someone who has sources would have slightly more insight than you or I. So therefore, it’s relevant to consider.

            And again, he’s not saying Stepan WON’T be traded. He’s simply saying that based on what he’s heard, he doesnt believe the Rangers will actively explore a trade involving Stepan.

            That’s all that’s been said here. Dissing the source because you dont happen to agree with it sounds like something a ten year old would do in schoolyard.

          • E3

            A little too flamboyant for my tastes. ?

            Those jackets would clash too much with the Amish attire??

            Joke my man……..

          • LOL!!!!

            But maybe Mennonite? I hear they are a little more open minded. 🙂

      • As a former colleague of mine once said, “nobody is irreplaceable.” Did we miss Brassard? Well, we won’t miss Stepan either. no matter vwhat Friedman says.

        • I agree with your colleague. As for not missing Stepan, it depends on who we replace him with.

          Did we miss Brassard? I’d argue that come playoff time, we did. Long range, this deal should be good for us…IF Mika puts it altogether. Many scouts think he has focus issues which is why perhaps Ottawa moved on from him.

  • I never been against a Stepan trade, but I wouldn’t do it unless the deal was right. I know he was on the table to Minnesota last season, but Gorton, who has exhibited restraint, probably didn’t like what was offered or Stepan wasn’t enough for what he was asking for. That said, Steps down year and mediocre playoff performance are only going to be detrimental to his value. I’m just not sure what we’d trade him for. I mean, I expect Shattenkirk to sign with the Rangers, so a right-handed defenseman seems a bit redundant. Maybe another Brass/Z-bad type deal? You guys know more than me. What do y’all think?

    • Shatty probably is coming but he’s not a top pair D man, IMO. Hence the additional need for a true top pair righty, which is where the Stepan trade talk comes in.

  • Dave-

    100% agree with your article. Very fair and objective look. Like you, I would consider trading Step for the right return, especially if it involves getting a major upgrade on defense. But I’m not at all sold that are “Untouchables”, along with Lindberg and (cue the laugh track) Boo Nieves would be anything near enough to replace what we would lose.

    It’s the pending NMC more than anything else that makes me think we should consider a deal here–IF the right deal is out there to be had. Just dumping him and thinking that would make us better would be insane.

    • Any center given the minutes Stepan plays (power play Ozone start ) would put up 50-60 points check the spreadsheets you guys love so much. It’s automatic if given those minutes to get those numbers. He’s not doing anything special nor is he special. That Captain remark was a classic Chappell like.

  • They need to move him too soft, too slow and a #1 center he is not and never will be need to move that contract as well. Has anyone seen him take or make a hit to make a play? I am not sure what we can get for him but not worth 6.5 mil per year for this team. Don’t compare him to Toews because he is not a leader in any way, shape or form and yes he is gutless.

    • Stepan fans are delusional, they would compare his two-way to Bergeron and his passing skills to Backstrom. I doubt he means much in the locker-room, lol yeah I bet those US born kids want to be like him especially after watching the World Cup last summer. He’s definitely getting moved but not for a top RHD or like what Brassard got us. It’ll be more for top 4 name and in a package while we’ll probably give a Gropp or something to make the deal sweeter. Step is screwed if he’s going to a team with no center depth, goalie and worst wingers than what the NYR had, I think his free ride is over with.

      • Only thing that saves Stepan is going to a team with a superstar center. Than he can float again and enjoy the free ride.

  • Trading Steps would leave a big hole down the middle for the Rangers as he is a very good 2 way hockey player. However, when you watch the Ducks and Preds play, its very obvious that the Rangers lack defencemen that can create offence from the blueline (exception Brady Skjei).

    Again, I think Rick Nash should be the player the Rangers move to help improve their blueline, The Rangers have more depth at wing then center and removing Ricks’ contract from the cap would also allow the Rangers to sign a defence that can run a power play.

    • I can’t take anyone seriously who thinks moving Nash, one of our top two forwards, will somehow make the Rangers better.

      • Stop living in the past supermaz. Rick Nash is a idol up here in the frozen north, but injuries have taken its’ toll on the once superstar power forward. Time to cut loses and move him now.

        • Why don’t you go by the horses mouth though? I understand that we can all vent here but try to do it within the guide lines of what was said by the management. That means that they’ll basically keep Nash to start the season off with, they are pricing him out this summer and will most likely move him next March. When the GM says he’s not trading his 7.8 cap hit for 2 cents on the dollar during a high end cap era and a expansion draft then it’s best to believe it. This was probably why they randomly added Nash to wear the “A” because they knew they’d move Stepan this summer since his value is dropping.

          • I agree with Mint on this Bloomer. I dont think it’s likely that Nash is going anywhere. When he’s healhty, he’s still the Rangers best skater.

            I do agree with you on Stepan. He gets a bad rap out here that I think is totally undeserved. I think they will deal him as long as they have a plan to not just replace him but upgrade what he brings. The NMC concern is real, so there’s that too.

            It should be interesting.

          • Who knows, maybe nash gets his buddy thornton here for a season or two. I have a feeling they’re gonna make huge changes.

          • Yep me too. Some big bold moves are coming, and I have a hunch either Kreider, Hayes or Miller with a 1st rounder will be the bait to land a big piece.

    • Nash drives play on the ice team have to prepare for Nash. His contract has only one year left if I’m not mistaken while Stepan has several years left he’s a passenger.

  • Stats don’t show everything. It was very easy to see that Stepan couldn’t keep up with the speed of the Rangers offense this year. That is why the numbers are down. Lindberg shows much better skating ability an seems much stronger an physical on his skates. Stepan at $6.5 million must go.

    • He doesn’t have the skills for a possession up tempo system. He can’t make the high pressure plays and he has no neutral game in his overall game where smarts and hands are needed.

    • Lindberg is the future(probably for LV) & Stepanis the past. I’ve been saying trade Stepan for so long, I can’t believe we are having this debate. Like Klein he should have already been traded. Send him home to Minny.

      • Hell no! HIGHEST BIDDER ONLY!

        He hasn’t earned a free trip back home (where we leave some meat on the bone in a trade)!

        I heard somewhere that ARI was interested in trading for him….. maaaybe we could work something out for that Ekman-Larsson guy?

        • Minnesota, Arizona, Rockford Ice Hogs, I don’t care where, just cash in and get some players back who can play while he’s still a NO 1 centre(I jest).

  • Goodbye Derek Stepan 🙂 you’re free rides over, I wouldn’t be shocked if you got bought out once you hit 30 or 31 years old.

    • He’s 31 at the end of the contract, so yeah, I’d be pretty shocked if he got bought out with no contract.

  • Are we a better playoff team with Stepan or with a different player at the 1 or 2 center position than Stepan? If we trade Stepan and the player is Klinberg or Trouba on defense in return and Hayes/Lindberg move up the center position – BUT be have to keep both Staal and Girardi, what do you do?

    Of course we then have to more Klein and Holden and hopefully can resign smith.

    • Rangers post-season is over Chris, so it’s on to the silly season, where even the most insane or unlikely scenarios will be offered up!

    • For sure Chris, for sure!
      Personally, if a deal is right, AND if we have a plan to replace who we trade, there isn’t a name that should be off the table.

      Sorry, but I can’t agree with Stepan being soft. No one can be accused of being soft and playing with a broken jaw, where he had to drink his meals, and broken ribs.
      Make a case for slow, yep,
      make a case for not being an accurate shooter, yep
      make a case for him not being a first line center, yep
      Even make a case for trading him, yep

      But to play with the injuries he has played with, I can’t agree with “soft”.

      • Jerry

        If you watched the game last night, especially the closing minutes, there were scrums galore. The MEN got dirty, mean, and down right nasty. Tell me the last time you saw Daisy involved in a situation like that?

        Had to think about it didn’t you, and probably still can’t come up with an answer can you? Meaning no disrespect, but the guy had an ice cream named after him, “Mr Softy”, remember ?????????

        • Yea, while you and I have only hope that Shatty gets our PP kicking in–the stuff of panacea, if you will–Nurse Ratched actually delivers.

          That velvety detached bliss, free of worry about Expansion Draft exposures, Henrik’s demise, Kreider’s epic fade…

          • 5-6 years, 6-6.5M bro. that’s the word on the street.

            Rangers also inquiring about OEL who is looking for a vet center (Stepan?). Trade for OEL and flip him for Trouba.


  • I am definitely not against trading Stepan for the right deal, but those who deride him as being a lousy player do not know what they are talking about. Typical overheated fan blather. He produces 50+ points every year and his stats as pointed out by others show that he drives possession.

    Ok, he is not an elite center. I get that. If the Rangers had an elite center Stepan would be a reliable 2C or 3C. He is not quite cut out for the up tempo game too. So, trading him may make sense if they can upgrade the blue line AND fill the center slot.

    He may be a little overpaid which might make it harder to deal him. But if I was Gorton I would listen to offers.

    • I don’t think Stepan is a “lousy” player at all. But despite the stats presented his skills are diminishing & his contract is ridiculous. NOW is the time to move him. He who does not strike while the iron is hot gets burned on the @$$!

    • Peter

      Even you stated he isn’t a 1st line guy, maybe 2nd, or 3rd, and he is somewhat over paid for being a 1st line guy. Why would you pay this kind of money on a 2nd, or 3rd, if he isn’t worth it as a first???????? I can’t for the life of me get your point, and I’m not trying to be a smart ass!!!!!!!!!

      • Point was Walt that he is a better player than some seem to realize from their comments. He is not an elite center and is not without faults, but he is dependable. If the Rangers had an elite center Stepan would slot as 3C behind the 2C, Zibanejad. But the Rangers don’t have a Crosby or a McDavid.

        I’d trade him for the right deal, but not to dump him.

        • Peter

          I never said to dump him, he is worth something, but not on this team. Hell, you even said that he would be down to a 3rd line if we had a better choice, but you can’t, in a cup era, pay a non productive guy $6.5 mil per year.

  • Interesting info from SNY’s Adam Rotter on Shattenkirk…..

    While talking about a possible return to the Washington Capitals, pending UFA Kevin Shattenkirk said that if he did return he would want a bigger role. (TSN)

    Shattenkirk was acquired by the Capitals at the trade deadline and in 19 regular season games played 20:12 and had 14 points, 18 hits, 26 blocked shots, 18 takeaways and 11 giveaways.

    In the playoffs, Shattenkirk had 1 goal, 5 assists, a minus r rating, 20 hits, 22 blocked shots, 5 takeaways and 12 giveaways in 18:27 per game.

    In Shattenkirk’s career, he averages 21:06 per game in the regular season and 20:57 in the playoffs.

    Shattenkirk said that he will see what the Capitals can offer as well as see what role they have in mind for him, adding that when he left St. Louis he talked of wanting a bigger role. (CSNMA)

    He said that he struggled at times in the playoffs and put too much pressure on himself before going back to playing his game. (CSNMA)

    Craig Custance writes that if the Rangers are trying to win the Stanley Cup then they should go big and sign Shattenkirk, a player that Custance writes is the “prototypical modern defenseman for the modern game.” (ESPN Insider)

    Custance writes that Shattenkirk has his “warts” defensively but a defenseman who can score double digit goals and get north of 40 points “isn’t easy to find.” (ESPN Insider)

    Darren Dreger said around the trade deadline that some GMs in the NHL view Shattenkirk as a second-pairing defenseman and PP specialist.

    Adam Rotter: Shattenkirk isn’t the perfect defenseman. He’s not Erik Karlsson or Drew Doughty but he’s a defenseman who has the exact skillset that the Rangers want on the back end. He’s a right shot, skates well, can move the puck, create offense and run the PP. Putting him next to Ryan McDonagh would give the Rangers a very mobile top pair. It’s fit that that on paper makes sense but also needs to make sense under the cap. It’s hard to know how the Rangers cap will look this far out, before the expansion draft and buyout period, but if the Rangers want Shattenkirk and Shattenkirk wants to be a Ranger, as many believe he does, they will find a way to work things out and fit everything else in after.

      • Absolutely. I wasn’t posting to suggest that Rotter’s opinion is any more or less meaningful than the rest of us. He has no sources that I know I of.

        I posted it because it was interesting to see Shatty’s take, as well as Custances’ and Dreger’s take. Their insights hold more water with me.

        It’s all just speculation anyway. We know nothing.

    • E3

      Darren Dreger said around the trade deadline that some GMs in the NHL view Shattenkirk as a second-pairing defenseman and PP specialist.

      Custance writes that Shattenkirk has his “warts” defensively but a defenseman who can score double digit goals and get north of 40 points “isn’t easy to find.” (ESPN Insider)

      And he gives up almost as much as he scores, for north of $6 per year, and term. I wouldn’t go there with a fifty foot pole, he’s another media darling, not worth the money!!!!!!!!

      • Be careful not to quote the Custance and Dreger. Some people out here think their opinions are worthless. I mean, what the heck do they know anyway!? 🙂

        I’m just kidding. They make valid points. Clearly, there are pluses and minuses to this move. I’m kind of neutral on Shatty at the moment. I want to see what he’s asking for, what other deals are out there, etc.

        I think there are going to be surprises we know nothing about that may well happen.

      • Got to sign Shattenkirk. While he may not be a savior, there just aren’t a lot of options. He’s the best available, and he’s a pretty good choice.

  • Simply put Stepan is not a shutdown No.1 center, very soft. The team needs a No. 1 center to be imposing, Stepan is not and has never been. He is however a very good player. Our COACH has a propensity of not developing young players he rather suppresses their grouth. In my view Hayes, Miller and Buchnevitch could stand up to the task, if given the opportunity. Losing Stepan via trade or other means will not hurt us.

    • Of course that isn’t actually true that he suppresses young talent, since he’s gave Kreider a long leash and Zuc when Torts was reluctant to play either. Miller and Hayes had maturing to do and they’ve gotten better. Skjei he played right away and he emerged as one of the best young players in the league. He gave long leashes to Vesey and also to Buch before he got hurt.

      But sure, let’s go with what you’re saying just for kicks…after all, it’s the silly season! 🙂

    • Joe, Skjei and Vesey, both rookies, played all year. Buchnevich played when healthy and he is another rookie. What are you talking about?

  • Listen, I have been a true Stepan fan for a long time, but when I saw him smile ear to ear after the last game, I got the feeling he really doesn’t want to win and work hard. I don’t know why he did, nor do I care. This was just something that struck me as wrong! I really don’t care if someone told him the funniest joke he ever heard, it’s not an acceptable reaction! That being said, I abhor NMC, and his kicks in this year. I have seen what these things do, I want no part of them. I know, the narrative is that you have to do it to win a cup and keep top line talent. Well, that narrative has failed over and over again. We have one cup in all our lifetimes! Really? Again, I just don’t want to give him away, but I want him out of here. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but he rubbed me the wrong way! Dave, you make very valid points! Maybe I’m still hurting, I believed this team could win!

    • This year’s team was always about re-tooling on the fly. When you trade away arguably your best center last summer for an up and comer and make no big splash moves at the deadline, you are NOT a legit contender this year. Not unless the young so-called stars actually played like stars. We got exactly what most thought we’d get, arguably even more than what most experts thought.

      As for NMC’s, we need to be realistic here. NO team in the NHL can make a policy that you will NOT give out some NMCs and long term deals. If you took that approach, unless you got incredibly lucky with young talent, your softer would be turning over like a college roster. Once guys get the maturity under their belt and learn your system, then you’re prepared to say to all of them…”sorry, time to move on?” You would be dooming the franchise to a perpetual rebuild. Name me ONE NHL franchise (or any sports franchise for that matter) that doesn’t have a few really bad contracts.

      NMC’s are the bane of every GMs existence, but they are a fact of life. Once a player gets to a certain place in his career, he gets to cash in. The key for the Rangers is simply to make sure that you do your best to give out those long term NMC deals to the right people, It’s not easy projecting ahead, and mistakes will be made along the way. But a no-NMC policy would be as bad for the long range future of the franchise as it would be to go overboard with too many.

      • If you have read what I have been cheerleading for all season, it is a complete and utter change of the system. I’m all for another lock out to stop this ridiculousness of NMC and long term deals. Lock ’em out until they agree to get rid of NMC and contracts longer than four years, and a cap on salary. Not team cap, player cap! As far as “cashing in” these guys did that the day they got paid for playing hockey. F**K me, I work for a living, put my life on the line every day, no-one is paying me near what these rookies get. You want to play a game and get paid, great, but 8 million a year….BS!

    • They could have Joe if they had a coach who was a leader, but this is something you don’t accept, so let’s do it again next year.

        • Well, if they bailed that means the coach had no influence at all over them. Think they’d bail on Mess?

          • Mess’s track record as a player says he’s a fantastic leader–when he has GREAT players to lead. He never lead a team of underwhelming talent anywhere.

            For a guy who values how important coaching is, it’s amazing that you would put a novice who’s never coached on any level behind the bench and expect a Cup would be the result. You must not think coachaing is all that important after all.

          • The old experience argument, eh? Edward III. He’s experienced at being a leader, which is a prime requisite for any coach. Unlike your HOF lover, who couldn’t lead a one car parade.

          • Then maybe Messier should run for Prime Minister of Canada. Since you say experience doesnt matter, he’d be the perfect choice. I mean, maybe every Prime Minister going forward should be former a NHL captain. 🙂

          • You err again as our current PM was attacked by the opposition before the election as inexperienced and “just not ready.” And he won & although not perfect(what people expect) he’s a F$#@ of a lot better than the last guy. Your arguments are really ludicrous sometimes(but not always).

  • getting paid what he’s getting paid, there is no excuse for putting up as little effort that he has been. avoids the body, slower than an elephant in quicksand, poor on faceoffs and he still makes 6.5 mil a year. needs to show MORE, plain simple.

  • For the record (this needs to be said), since so few of you are able (or willing to) to make the following distinction and it’s really annoying

    toughness does not equal being a tough guy

    ability to absorb does not equal ability to dish out


    Yes, he's not a 'tough guy' (something we need – a good player with HEART & FIGHT!!! A guy like Wayne SImmonds or even Ryan Kesler!)

    Yes, thanks to our depth (even if those aforementioned don't play C), he's quite replaceable.


    No, he's technically a top 30 center (thanks bettman for the unnecessary filler teams diluting talent leaguewide).

    No, he shouldn't be bought out – IDK who the hell would even be dumb enough to say that, let alone do it.

  • Personally dont think anyone on this team is “untouchable” but some questions and points. Ive been wondering since it happened is Stepans “relax” comment and motions to Hank part of the bigger issue. This team is known to not play a full 60, start slow, take games off, if he is a locker room leader is he part of the problem? I dont know that he is or isnt but its just odd that one of the few players who showed up to every playoff game is being told to relax instead of telling the many who didnt show up to step up.

    Trading Stepan for a top line dman fills one hole but creates another. Stepan’s replacement (a worthy one atleast) is not in house. I know everyone loves Miller but he couldnt get it done on the third and fourth line in the playoffs but suddenly hes gonna get it done on the first line or second if its Zibanejad to the first line. Miller 1 goal in 40 playoff games, if he has another playoff like this year and gets paid next summer the pitchforks will be out for him.

  • Another interesting take today from Elliotte Friedman involving the possibility of Raanta going to Calgary–

    “Raanta is a good name to mention,” noted Friedman. “He had a pretty good year this year. The only issue I ever heard about Raanta is that in a league where in net now big is better, he’s not that big a guy. And that’s the only knock I’ve ever heard on that guy. He’s really talented though, and he held the Rangers in it this year when Lundqvist was really struggling.”

    That point about his size is interesting. Could size prove to be an issue in terms of a) whether the Knights would claim him, or b) whether he would bring a return on a trade that would be worth moving him.

    Question is….is Raanta viewed as a potential starting goaltender?

  • I think Stepan’s fate will be sealed when they have the discussions with the team regarding the bench and the locker room, especially with Hank. I sense there is more to the issue between them than just frustration that last game. Gorton will have no choice but to support his goalie.

    Stepan disappeared for long stretches this year. Maybe he had personal problems, but it surely affected his game. He is not a winner and he might be an asset we can use to build the backline. He also had multiple wingers this year, and didn’t make any of them better.

    I think he goes to Minnesota. I also wouldn’t be shocked if he gets worked into a deal to go to Las Vegas in a 3 team deal. Either way, I don’t think we need another NMC.

    I like where people are ranking Stepan in the top 30. Isn’t that the same as being ranked in the bottom 2?

    • “I like where people are ranking Stepan in the top 30. Isn’t that the same as being ranked in the bottom 2?”

      Lol, no.

      Just because someone’s not a “numba wan centa” doesn’t mean they fail to have value……

      There’s 120 (soon to be 124) spots available for centers in the league, not counting replacements. Being a ‘great’ 2C is, actually…. an important thing….

      Problem is *grabs the dead-horse-beatstick* ….. we have, arguably, two # 2C’s in Stepan & Zib, and two (three potentially) #3 C’s with Hayes, Lindberg, & Miller if he is converted back.

      We obviously do not need five middling centermen more than we need a top RHD.

      That is, of course, saying nothing of the fact that they will all likely get better next year because none of them are 30+ vets.

      As such, the highest paid guy with an incoming NMC who doesn’t bring anything which the other four guys I mentioned don’t (which would be some much-needed overwhelming physicality) is…. the ideal trade candidate

      But stop acting like we’d be better off throwing a trained monkey in skates out there over Stepan. He has his downsides, it’s true… BUT

      He’s a solid player signed for around market value. Hopefully Gorton doesn’t panic & do what many of you are suggesting, which is trade him for a late first round pick & some hockey pucks; he’s worth more than that.

      • I thought people were saying he was top 30 of #1 centers, not top 30 of ALL centers. I think if you look at who he is top 30 of, it actually IS top 30 of all the #1 centers, except for but a few teams who have more than 1 player on the list.

        If this IS true, than my statement is close to true.

        • Well, given that some teams have more than 1 talented center, technically, as far as they go….

          yeah, he’s an ‘average’ No.1 center. For some reason, because he doesn’t score 37 goals a year, that (according to some people) must mean he’s totally worthless.

          Other people begrudge the fact that he’s not a physical presence out there.

          Personally, I blame the people who fail to see what is apparent, rather than the players for not being something they aren’t…. seems much more reasonable to me, anyways.

          Maybe we can find a team who irrationally values some of his fancy stats to cough up something very nice…

          • Is it too much to ask for a #1C to show up in the playoffs?

            Is it too much to ask that your #1C win more than 50% of his faceoffs in the playoffs?

            If your #1C isn’t scoring, can he at least be a high assist man in the playoffs?

            Is any of the above too much to ask of your #1C?

            Nsh Ryan Johanson 13 pts
            Ana Ryan Getzlaff 18 pts
            Pitt Sidney Crosby

          • Is it too much to ask for a #1C to show up in the playoffs?

            Is it too much to ask that your #1C win more than 50% of his faceoffs in the playoffs?

            If your #1C isn’t scoring, can he at least be a high assist man in the playoffs?

            Is any of the above too much to ask of your #1C?

            Nsh Ryan Johanson 13 pts
            Ana Ryan Getzlaff 18 pts
            Pitt Sidney Crosby 14 pts
            NYR Derek Stepan 2 pts (1 empty net)

          • Lol, I never said he had a good playoff run this year.

            Hell, I’m not even one of the guys who wants to keep him!

            But, it’s like Dave said (when he linked the stats directly from the NHL’s website)…. the guy’s a number one (technically)!

            You guys think that there’s all of this talent out there scoring >.75 PPG while winning faceoffs etc.


            We also have nothing to trade that can get us aforementioned player…. Unless you’d like to see someone like McD go the other way?

          • No just everyone’s number one is better than the Rangers and you don’t win cups without a stud number one center. Check the spreadsheets on that one.

    • Sal

      Stepan disappeared for long stretches this year. Maybe he had personal problems, but it surely affected his game.

      He disappeared because he was too busy counting the money he stole from this organization for his lack of production, and also was too busy looking for a backbone!!!!!!!!

      • Walt, you are right. He was weighed down by an extra heavy wallet and no spine to support it.

        He needs to work on his core, as he is gutless! He plays like the little brother playing with the big kids, AFRAID! We need to cut our losses and rid ourselves of the poison he brings to the lockeroom. We have found the enemy, and his name is Derek Stepan!

        How is that Walt?

  • Oy vey, I just went through the whole thread and just wow, lol.

    Stepan traders, come on, you’re talking like we’re trading KK or something. The guy is .80ish per game player, that’s fairly high on the list of centers, believe it or not, so he’s not fodder.

    Stepan WILL BE HERE, UNLESS he goes for a top 4 D man. Get used to the idea. Gorton is not trading him just for the sake of trading him. Gorton WILL get rid of the “dead wood” through trades, buyouts, begging, panhandling, etc., whatever works.

    So guys like my fraternity brothers, Walt and Rich, whom I love, take a breath and be prepared for Derek to be on the team next year, NMC and all. BECAUSE the D man market will be very high for trade as many teams will be looking for D help. That shrinks the opportunities for the Rangers.

    In Gorton, I trust.

    • Richter

      He may be here next season, but we won’t have to like it, do we?????? Something has to be worked out for the teams sake. Seriously, can you see Daisy playing in a few years, with the cap hit, producing less, and less, while we can’t move him? If that thought isn’t reason enough to motivate you to move him, well I don’t know what is. If he can’t skate now, and do the list of thing we all pointed out at this age, why would anyone think he will improve with age, like a bottle of fine wine!!!!!!!!!! My friend, we have to disagree on this one………….

      • Actually Walt we are not disagreeing. I want to use Stepan as a trading chip but for the right reasons, that’s all.

        How about this? Stepan and Staal to Arizona for OEL and then trade OEL to Winnipeg for Trouba?

        I had mentioned this scenario a while ago, I just didn’t say who would go to the Yutes for OEL. But I was “told” that the Yutes are looking for a top 6 vet center and that the Rangers are inquiring on OEL

        Stay tuned.

    • You are probably right. But i am not convinced that Gorton won’t just blow the whole team up. Think Brassard for Zibanejad, but on a much grander scale. Yes, he might make a few adjustments to get the team over the hump, but maybe he is ready to make drastic changes.

      If the Rangers are going to buy out a Dman, maybe try to upgrade from Skjei, for example. The fact that Skjei is draft-exempt is a big plus to a number of teams, but is worthless to the Rangers unless they keep both G and Staal.

      I don’t see a fire sale for draft choices – this is New York and such things don’t happen in NY, even without the Lundqvist factor. But I can see an I’ll trade anyone for the right return.

      I want a lot back for Stepan (or McD or Zucc), but I won’t count on anyone’s return [except Hank].

      • The only reason (I think) that we may see some significant changes is due to the unique situation being created by the expansion draft.

        Multiply this by two if either ANA or NSH win the cup given their lineups (& the fact they are poised to get screwed)

        …. Hell, add OTT on there as well (lol), but for different reasons I suppose.

        That and, I’m sure there will be another one in a few years (you guys don’t really expect the NHL to sit tight with 31 teams, right?)

        • Nordiques will eventually return.

          How does the AHL thing work for Vegas? Like is an ECHL team getting bumped up to the A? Or are like half a dozen mediocre NHLers taken at the expansion draft gonna play for a brand new AHL team?

          • When Winnipeg got the jets back, they moved the AHL team there (the Manitoba Moose) to St. John’s to become the IceCaps.

            They’ll just move it

          • Uh, I think the Manitoba Moose are still the Jets Farm team & play in the Western Division of the AHL with Chicago, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee etc.

          • LOL, nevermind then!

            It appears that they went back to Manitoba, and that MTL’s farm team was moved from Hamilton to ‘replace’ the IceCaps.

            Interesting, good catch Paul.

      • Every player is open for discussion, I agree, but the likelyhood of trade centers on Stepan, G, Staal, and KK. The last 3 just to get them off the team.

        I don’t think a Kreider gets traded. Nor McD. Nor Nash (limited market anyway). No way Skjei gets traded.

        Stepan appears to be the best trade chip that the Rangers are willing to give up. Could Miller or Hayes go in the right deal? Sure. But the Rangers want to shed cap space which, again, points to Stepan.

        • Agree partially. The guys you mentioned in the first paragraph could be dealt to help create cap space. But a Kreider, Miller or Hayes (and maybe possibly McDonagh, could be part of a blockbuster. They are our most desirable talents IMO.

          It would have to be quite a haul. But hey, you never know. I’d we willing to sacrifice some of our depth for one legit star.

          • I don’t think Gorton goes “nuts.” Meaning that he makes calculated moves as opposed to “blowing it up.”

            The last 10 minutes of the season showed what Kreider can do in the playoffs. The Rangers probably believe that that’s the Kreider they will see on a regular basis, which is not common in the NHL and you cannot get it just from anywhere.

    • Richter 1994,
      You may be right, but I just cant help watching him soak up top minutes and producing 2 games winners in 82 games!!
      And 37 even strength points in 82 games………
      We will never be a top team with him as our center, his points will easily be made up by other centers getting more ice time and pp time….
      I put him 4th on the depth chart behind zib, lindberg and hayes…..
      Just the thought of going through another season screaming at my TV…….I better stock up on the beer!!!!
      And whats worse by keeping him we will lose ??? lindberg, fast grabner???

      • Hey Rich, I get it and understand Derek’s shortcomings, which there are for sure. But the Rangers do not have that superstar skating player. They do it on depth and basically having 2 #1 lines or 2 #2 lines, whichever way you want to say it.

        I want Derek traded for that true top pair righty D man. A trade for anything would be a waste of an asset IMO.

  • The Hockey News published each teams top ten prospects. The Rangers are as follows–

    1. Shesterkin
    2. Huska
    3. Day
    4. Nieves
    5. Halverson
    6. Graves
    7. Group
    8. Wall
    9. Gettinger
    10. Fontaine

    Of this group, only Shesterkin is considered a Top 75 overall NHL prospect.

    I’m no expert on this, and I will certainly defer to more knowledgeable folks out there like Reena and others. And of course, rankings dont necessaily guarantee success or failure. But a few things here…

    Last year Shesterkin was ranked 5th. This past year he was brilliant and certainly his stock is on the rise. Huska, another goalie, jumped from 7 to 2. Conversely, Halverson’s star seems to have lost a little luster and he’s now only the third best goalie in the system.

    This would seem to be a promising ranking for Sean Day, given that he still is a few years away and still has room to grow. You “Boo” fans, I’m not sure if being 4th best says he’s truly ready or not for an NHL role next year–not on a contending team anyway. I wouldn’t assume he’s ready.

    All those beating up the Rangers about not calling up Graves, I’d say being ranked 7th at this point should be a big red flag. Maybe this guy just isn’t legit NHL material.

    Group is still young. Probably too soon to tell.

    This list came out before the Rangers signed Pionk, Pedrie, Bereglazov, Lettieri and Neil, so no idea where they would stack up on this list.

    Broad impression, other than Shesterkin, don’t expect much meaningful help coming from our system anytime soon.

    • Group is Gropp.

      The bright side is that this list is slightly dated. The Rangers have recently signed some interesting players. They should rank way up there.

      The bad news is that this is a rather sad list. Day is a not premier draft choice about which we know relatively little. I don’t want to downplay his value, but I sure wish he wasn’t the top skater. It is easy to be a hot prospect when you are just starting. The fact that Nieves and Graves are the only “close to ready” guys on the list is not good. At the moment, I don’t see much hope from either of them frankly. Nieves currently, and in the past, has a concussion problem. As for Graves, if the Rangers thought he could play in the NHL next year, why wasn’t he called up?

      Maybe Day and Gropp will come through, but the cupboard has never been so bare it seems.

      • Tell that to Gordie Clark who said before the season started that he was on the cusp & would push guys in training camp. Mark my words, AV will not play him, not his type of D.

        • How absurd! Of course management will hype their prospects. And, where he was before the season may not be where he is now. What kind of season diode he have? Loooks like, at least based on THN, he may have gone backwards. But of course, you’ve doubled down on Graves and McIlrath while dissing Skjei. I told you two years ago that it was Skjei that the scouts seemed to feel had the most upside. You are having trouble dealing with reality here it seems.

          And of course the fallacy in your argument is that if the Clark and Gorton thought AV was not giving their prospects, that they drafted, a fair shake, you think they’d have re-signed him to a mega-extension? Not a chance.

          Paul, all I’m doing is reporting what THN is saying. None of us know what will happen with these guys. You really need to take a sedative and relax.

          • Riiight, because Yandle & Dylan getting shelved for the wonder twins isn’t indicative enough of what he’s likely to do.

            Or Stralman…. lol….guess he sucked out there vs LA etc.

            Or Dan Boyle…. who actually was, statistically better than Girardi was (by a country mile, no less) when paired with McD than he was.

            Or Skjei getting ‘lost out there’ in the unyielding wilderness that our PINE BENCH is…..

            Or the fact that THE WONDER TWINS ARE STILL A THING

            Or the fact that Adam Clendenning has been sent to Siberia….

            No man, you have the fallacy. You wanna argue that he’s a smart guy with his systems, FIIIINE.

            But this? LOL no.

            Cmon Eddie, you should know better by now…. deployments and evaluations (specifically on the defense) are his Achilles’ heels.

            BTW, Paul (among others, including myself) probably wouldn’t get so worked up if you wouldn’t keep insisting that AV isn’t a (heavily) flawed head coach!

            ….. Despite the goofy record he has WHICH IS MORE OF A FUNCTION OF THE QUALITY OF PLAYERS ON SAID TEAMS THAN HIM AS A COACH!!!!!!!!

          • Wiener….now it’s you that needs a sedative. AV has little to do with prospects. That’s all on Gorton and Clark.

            Calm down….it’s just a post about THN’s perspective on prospects. It’s not life or death.

          • Oh come on Eddie, you know, with me, it’s never personal. Sorry if it seems that way sometimes.

            I’m just trying to point out that AV’s judgement when it comes to the aforementioned is … suspect at best.

            If it wasn’t, no one who wasn’t either piss drunk or trolling would complain about him.

    • All those beating up the Rangers about not calling up Graves, I’d say being ranked 7th at this point should be a big red flag. Maybe this guy just isn’t legit NHL material.

      Oh, for F!! sakes, because the Hockey News rates him 7th, then he’s not NHL material? Really!!
      And it’s GROPP, not Group, the later plays beer hockey in Hoboken.

      • Paul-

        You really have to calm down. It was an auto-correct mistake on Gropp (see I took care of it this time!). Why do you get so bent out of shape about this stuff? Do YOU personally know ANYTHING about whether Graves is a legit prospect or not? Maybe he falls into the same category as McIlrath—someone you personally overrated and now can’t seem to deal with the fact that no NHL team wanted him.

        I have no idea what Graves will be. None of us do. All I’m saying is, for those who say the kid is definitely going to be ready next year and somehow this is an “AV thing”, I’m just saying there are obviously people watching these prospects that may disagree.

        Geez Louise…maybe try and have a pleasant conversation instead of going on the attack on everything you, the all knowing and all seeing Wizard of Hockey Knowledge, don’t agree with!

        • You and I must be like Jon Snow because depending on who is speaking we both know nothing. And being a newspaper editor & familiar with black & white, I would expect you not to be duped by autocorrect & dele.

          • I’m not a newspaper editor. I’m a broadcaster. We dont care as much about spelling. 🙂

    • Eddie, sorry I repeated some of what you said. On Nieves, I don’t think the #4 ranking says he won’t be ready. Usually, a prospect with a reasonable chance to be a top six forward some day in the distant future will outrank a guy who is ready to be a bottom six forward next year (but no expectation of long term improvement).

      • Thanks Ray. That makes sense, and you may well be right. It’s so nice to have a reasonable conversation where I get to learn something from someone who, while we disagree on goalie matters, can have a good give and take dialogue without going all nuclear when one of us disagrees.

        It is appreciated.

    • You think maybe all those #1’s for retreads may be the cause???????? I’d bet it was!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s also not forget the #2’s we gave away for Eric Staal, and others, hmmmmmm??????????

      • The cost of doing business when you the team failed to mail it when they had favorable drafting position. Then you are left with having to patch it together. Having a slightly improved farm system wouldn’t make the Cup any closer if none of those guys are legit difference making stars. And none of the guys or picks we did give up appear to be that caliber of player.

        But yes, our prospect list would look nicer if we had not made all those deals.

  • Can we get a GIF of Ron Burgundy saying “that escalated quickly” with a beer in his hand?

    Is this a record for comments?

  • Hell, with his contract, I’d risk it and expose him for the expansion draft if he’s not traded by then.

  • grading this one on a curve Dave.

    Obviously, Stepan should command adequate value, not be given away.
    Such disclaimer aside, Stepan MUST go, and if for no other reason he MUST be dealt before any NMC and/or more onerous NTC clause kicks in, thus defeating such clause from ever being activated by NY, and making it optional — not required and thus defeated — as to an imposition on the acquiring club.

    Stop w/Trouba, you know that is a pipe dream, Dave. totally chum in the water; for shame Dave
    Faulk COULD be a fair deal — IF NY throws Car dif on the 6.5 to 4.8 salary; but Faulk is a useful piece as young Hurricane Ds emerge so they are in no rush and will have no shortage of suitors. Stepan is surplus for Rangers. Stop the bs defaming Hayes; truth is we need to do Kreider with speedy Miller in pivot and complementary bookend RW in Zib for 1st line; Hayes to 2nd line, Lindberg, 3rd; and a Nieves at 4C. If we do my deal — too busy to detail here — and get Sam Reinhart, then he slots into 1C if comfy there, or 2C and everybody bumps down a slot.
    Stepan is totally superfluous
    Stop with lies suggesting otherwise
    Stop with protracting the failed win now
    build, build, build, dominate Cup
    that is how it’s done

    I ask everybody to run with this, THE best Stepan deal option.
    just pls give me credit for originating it

    combo package
    pre-expansion draft
    Stepan + rights to Tyler G prospect Wall
    2017 Ranger 1st, + 2019 + 2020 Rangers 2nds
    Las Vegas Golden Knights 2017 1st
    2018 GK 2nd
    2019 + 2020 GK 2nds
    so far basically a swap of this yr’s 1st and later 2nds

    then as part of this deal
    Holden to LV for a meaningless conditional 7th that is not realized
    effective immediately after the draft

    then a separate deal part of the package
    in consideration of the above, LV agrees to select Klein at exp draft
    and after announcing so before follows thru with this commitment at draft

    LV loses a 2nd next yr outright otherwise only flips, gets 2 useful guys who can be flipped for picks/better picks w/adds [LV Holden to Wini, RD Klein to Tor]. They get a 1C building block they can use, and later if injury forces massive overpayment, they have option to deal to a desperate contender needing to save season. Also, decent raw, green freebie G prospect throw in

    NY can use that 6OA to draft a quality D that builds for future
    gain/upgrade 2nds
    keep Raanta, who they can deal before or after
    and obtain upwards of 11m in cap relief

    somebody make sure NYR GM Jeff Gorton sees that…

    • I got a headache reading that, but if the end result has Stepan on another team, I am all for it.

      He is dirt, he is less than dirt. (this is for Walt)
      He is the 30th best 1C out of 31 teams (this is for Dave and Wiener Dog)


  • bernmeister,

    You would make a great GM……think for the present and future at same time something our former GM was totally unable to do….not sure about gorton yet , but not seen anything special from him either…..

    you summed it up perfectly….please copy and post it to todays article, others need to read it!!!

  • Seems there are two camps and both would trade him for the right player while some would trade him for the proverbial bag of pucks. The two camps are those who watch him in actual games and those who like to quote stats. All I can say about the stats as one who watches the actual games was that one of his assist was actually awarded on a lost face-off where he never even touched the puck. Not a +1 mind you which he also got but an actual assist. Between that and weak secondary assist / and being at games to observe his “strong” play / and the looming NMC – he needs to go. Get what you can BUT I would not expect much. His hat trick in his first game was a long long long time ago. And he is not getting faster only notably slower on what seems to be a team that wants to get faster – I don’t see him fitting in anymore with what this team is trying to become.

  • Stepan and Hayes for Seguin? Someone who can pick a spot when shooting. Move Lindberg to 3rd line center. Showed in playoffs he can handle it

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