Rangers Agree to Terms With Forward Derek Stepan
Stepan, 23, registered 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 points, along with 12 penalty minutes in 48 games last season. He established career-highs in several statistical categories, including plus/minus rating (plus-25), game-winning goals (six), shorthanded assists (three), shorthanded points (four), and tied his career-high in power play goals (four). Stepan eclipsed the 40-point mark for the third consecutive season, on his way to leading the team in points and assists, and finished second on the Rangers in goals, power play goals, and power play points (10). He also led the team and tied for second in the NHL in game-winning goals, tied for the league lead in shorthanded points, and second in shorthanded assists.
The Hastings, Minnesota native established postseason career-highs in goals (four), plus/minus rating (plus-four), and game-winning goals (two) during the 2013 playoffs. He led the team in goals and game-winning goals, ranked second in plus/minus rating, and tied for fourth in points (five), while skating in 12 playoff contests. Stepan tallied the game-winning goal in Game 3 and Game 4 of their Conference Quarterfinal matchup against Washington, becoming the first Ranger to record the game-winning goal in consecutive playoff games since Adam Graves in Game 4 and Game 5 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The 6-0, 196-pounder has appeared in 212 career regular season games over three seasons, registering 56 goals and 84 assists for 140 points, along with 54 penalty minutes and a plus-47 rating. Last season, he skated in his 200th career NHL game on April 3 against Pittsburgh, recording an assist in the contest, and tallied his 100th career NHL point with an assist on January 26 against Toronto. In 2011-12, Stepan established career-highs in assists (34) and points (51), reaching the 50-point plateau for the first time in his career with two power play assists on March 30, 2012, against Montreal.
Stepan was originally selected by the Rangers as a second round choice, 51st overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He notched a hat trick while skating in his NHL debut on October 9, 2010, at Buffalo, making him the fourth player in NHL history, and first Ranger, to accomplish the feat. Stepan finished the 2010-11 season ranked fifth among NHL rookies in points (45), tied for fifth in goals (21), and seventh in assists (24).