Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers has been one of their most consistent players since he broke into the league back in 2010. On a nightly basis he adds to the offense with his great passing and on ice vision and even chips in defensively by killing penalties. He is a coach’s dream when it comes to a complete center. Stepan’s contract is up at the end of this season, and if he were to hit free agency, many teams would be inquiring about his services.
It would behoove General Manager Glen Sather and his staff to start talking about an extension as soon as possible for the twenty four year old center. His face-off percentage of 43.2% is quite low for a player of his caliber, yet he makes up for it with his offensive prowess and defensive responsibility. He is a key piece to this Rangers’ lineup and losing him only decimate their already lack of center depth.
So far this season, Stepan has thirty two points in thirty two games. He missed the first twelve games of the season due to a broken leg suffered during training camp. After returning from injury, he has been unstoppable. He is third on the team in plus/minus (a plus twelve) and fourth on the team in points. He is clearly an offensive leader, as he has been in the top five in scoring team wise since his inauguration into the league.
He has also been an invaluable player during the Rangers recent success. He is tied for first in short handed points in the league. The Rangers are definitely a different team without him and it shows. He is on his way to having another career year and with his help, Alain Vigneault and his team will have another chance to play for the Stanley Cup.
Not resigning him would be a huge mistake for the front office. At only twenty four years old, he is a veteran leader on this team and a big presence in the locker room. Playing on the top power play unit and killing penalties during his career has helped him round out his game to become a more complete, competitive player.
He played a big role during the Rangers push for the Stanley Cup last year and was tied second in scoring during that memorable run.
Although Marc Staal just signed a big extension on Broadway and do not have much cap space to work with, Sather and his staff can get an affordable deal done. Stepan wants to stay in New York for a long time, and there is no reason why Sather should not bring back an invaluable asset to his team.