When Derek Stepan was drafted in the second round of the 2008 NHL draft, some thought the Rangers had landed the center of the future. Since then, Stepan has had phenomenal growth as a player, and it reached its apex during the 48-game season when he posted 18 goals, 26 assists and 44 points, with the latter two leading the team. If this had been an 82-game season, Stepan would have set new career-highs in all three of those categories.
Stepan also had a strong postseason, as he scored a team-leading four goals after posting just one last spring.
Stepan was utilized in nearly every situation, including on the power play and the penalty kill, showcasing that he is an important piece of the puzzle for this team no matter how tight the game. Like McDonagh, as he continues to mature and improve his game, expect the praise and recognition from many in the hockey world to continue to pile up.