Derek Stepan
Derek Stepan
29-Year-Old CenterC
Arizona Coyotes
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Stepan had his worst offensive season in 2018-19, posting 15 goals and 35 points in 72 games. After the season, it was revealed the center played through a torn MCL during the campaign. Injuries have rarely been an issue for the 29-year-old -- he's missed only 35 games over his nine-year career. He doesn't jump off the page as a top-line center, but that's the role he fills for the Coyotes. Getting an elite scorer in Phil Kessel on his wing should greatly improve Stepan's numbers as he looks for a bounce-back season. If the two star forwards can mesh together, expect Stepan to easily return to 50-plus-point form with the usual near-200 shots and 10-15 points on special teams. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a six-year, $39 million extension with the Rangers in July 2015 that will run through the end of the 2020-21 season.
Pair of power-play assists
CArizona Coyotes
October 17, 2019
Stepan supplied two helpers on the power play in Thursday's 5-2 win over the Predators.
Stepan set up both of Phil Kessel's goals in the contest, earning the secondary assist on each. The 29-year-old center had been held without a point in his last four games. He now has three points and 12 shots on goal in six appearances.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Derek Stepan
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Arizona's highest-paid forward with a $6.5 million annual rake, Stepan delivered 14 goals and a team-high-tying 42 assists without missing a game in his debut campaign for the Pacific Division club in 2017-18. The top-line pivot is one of the NHL's most consistent year-to-year performers, as he's tightly ranged from 44-to-56 points since ascending to the highest level with the Rangers eight years ago. He's also uncorked 18 power-play points in back-to-back seasons. On the downside, poor shooting percentage metrics have prevented Stepan from joining the elite class -- he posted a paltry rate (6.7) last season and is only at a 10.1 mark in his career. A more experienced Clayton Keller, who was a 2018 Calder Trophy finalist, along with the addition of Montreal's offseason castoff Alex Galchenyuk, figures to help Stepan in the few areas where he falls short offensively.
After seven seasons of bringing consistent offensive production, defensive responsibility and leadership to the Rangers, Stepan is embarking on the next phase of his career, having been dealt to the Coyotes in June. A regular scorer of 50-plus points -- he's hit that mark in the last five campaigns, with the lone exception his 44 points in 48 contests in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season -- Stepan can reasonably be expected to do the same in Arizona, where he'll slot in as the first-line center. However, it’s questionable whether he'll be able to maintain his career-long streak of finishing with a positive plus-minus, as he and the Coyotes will have to depend on former Rangers backup Antti Raanta (traded to the desert in the same deal) to stop pucks in front of a blue line of iffy depth. A victim of a career-low (8.1) shooting percentage last season, Stepan could get back to the 20-goal mark while providing his usual contributions on the power play and as a penalty killer.
Although he has three straight seasons of point totals in the mid-50s on his record, practically the only thing keeping Stepan from exceeding 60 points in the last two campaigns has been injury. Even though he missed 10 games in 2015-16, he set a new career high with 22 goals, thanks in no small part to a spike in his shot rate – always a promising sign of increasing offense. As Stepan approaches his age-26 season, he’s poised to set new career marks offensively if he can play a full season and sustain his increased involvement on offense. He may also need to play a slightly bigger role than in past seasons with Derick Brassard having been shipped out and replaced by the less-experienced Mika Zibanejad, but that shouldn’t make a huge difference. The Rangers’ top center is locked up long term, so he’s smack in the middle of an extended and distinguished tenure with the Blueshirts.
A broken leg delayed the start of Stepan's 2014-15 campaign, but once he got back into the swing of things, it was like he never left. Though his point total fell slightly from the year before because of the missed time, he would have easily set a career high if he'd been healthy. The Rangers signed him to a six-year, $39 million contract extension in July, so he'll be centering their finest wingers into his early 30s. With a fully healthy season, Stepan could clear 20 goals for the second time while reaching 60 points for the first time, and he's a good bet to accompany that with a fantastic plus/minus for a Rangers team that promises to be very good again.
After posting a nearly point-per-game (44 in 48 games) pace in the lockout shortened season of 2012-13, the team’s projected first-line center was a hold out in training camp last year. Stepan, who eventually signed a two-year contract worth just over $6 million dollars, proved to be worth the wait. Although the 23-year-old slumped on occasion, 57 points in 82 games is certainly worthy of a mid-round beard scratch to most owners in most formats, especially with Stepan set to be a restricted free-agent again at year’s end. Perhaps even more important to fantasy owners, as exemplified in the playoffs when the Minnesota native missed just one game due to a broken jaw, Stepan is as dependable as anyone in the NHL, having played all 294 eligible regular season games since he arrived in the league in 2010-11.
It's fair to say Stepan’s 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, it’s looking like Stepan will be skating in Madison Square Garden. When that happens, he’ll 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.
More Fantasy News
Nets lone goal in loss
CArizona Coyotes
October 3, 2019
Stepan scored a goal on four shots in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Ducks.
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Lights lamp in exhibition game
CArizona Coyotes
September 18, 2019
Stepan (knee) scored a goal in Tuesday's preseason game versus the Kings.
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Played through injury
CArizona Coyotes
April 8, 2019
General Manager John Chayka said Monday that Stepan suffered a torn MCL and played through the injury, Craig Morgan of The Athletic reports.
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Propels offense with pair of goals
CArizona Coyotes
April 4, 2019
Stepan scored twice on three shots in Thursday's 4-1 win over the Golden Knights.
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Scoreless in return
CArizona Coyotes
March 24, 2019
Stepan skated 19:31 in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Devils.
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