24-Year-Old Center – New York Rangers
Derek Stepan Contract Information:
Agreed to terms with the Rangers in June 2010. The three-year contract will pay him $875,00 per season.
Stepan (leg) has begun skating on his own, Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record reports.
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Derek Stepan: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
It's fair to say Stepanís star not only rose in the lockout shortened campaign of 2012-13, but his fantasy expectations going into this new season will be at a fevered pace. Stepan led the Rangers in scoring (18 goals, 26 assists) last season, and added four goals, one assist for a plus-4 in 12 playoff games last spring. Most important to the chronically health challenged Rangers is Stepan's durability. He has played in 212 consecutive regular season games since putting on Rangers jersey in 2010-11. Although the Rangers are continuing extension talks with their forward, there is no rush to resign him before the start of camp.
Stepan stepped up his play during his sophomore season in 2011-12, finishing the year with 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists) to go along with a healthy plus-14 rating and 16 points on the power play. The 22-year-old winger should see plenty of time on the Blueshirts' second line and will have every opportunity to take his game to the next level with Marian Gaborik likely missing the first two months of the season. Stepan is gaining attention from fantasy leaguers, and may very well represent one of the best sleeper values among forwards in 2012-13. Be prepared to draft him earlier than usual in keeper leagues if he's available; Stepan is one of the Rangers' top young talents.
Stepan had an impressive rookie season, placing sixth in rookie scoring with 21 goals and 24 assists. Despite an opening night hat trick, he struggled the first 20 games of the season before settling in and steadily improving throughout the year. If Stepan can follow up his first season with a strong sophomore year, he could break the 50-point mark and push Artem Anisimov for second-line center time.
If preseason is any indication, 2010-11 will be a good year for the 20-year-old rookie. He appeared as a first-line center during preseason, playing alongside Marion Gaborik and Alexander Frolov. At this point, itís looking like Stepan will be skating in Madison Square Garden. When that happens, heíll be one of the top-5 rookies in the league this year. 20 goals and 60 points are reasonable expectations.
Stepan is a major talent, but the Rangers have a number of older, more developed center ahead of him on the organizational depth chart. He isn't going to be an option for the Rangers for a few years.
Stepan had 91 points in 54 games this past season for the famous Shattuck-St. Mary's high school program in Minnesota. Stepan is 6-0, but he has to get much bigger than the 170 pounds he is currently listed at in order to make it at the NHL level.