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03-08-2013, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Originally Posted by
First off, it has been 20 years since we have had a home grown Ranger come in and make a impact like step has in his first three years. Some of you just don't get it. When I here people like Dave Maloney, Adam Graves, Brian Leetch, talk about how important he is to this team, and how Torts says he goes unnoticed at times with everything he does that's all I need to hear!
When is the last time we have had a player play in every situation of the game like Step does? I would challenge anyone to find that 22 year old that has done that. Like Torts said a week ago " there is not much Step has not done for this team". To me it's all the little things he does that makes him our number 1 center without question. When he went down to block that shot in the ankle the other night you have to believe that he is drinking Tort's kol-aid.
Some of you guys can talk about his skating all you want but this kid has gotten better every year and that is a rare quality in a very young player. There is not one part of his game that has not gotten better in his three years. He slows our pp down at times,he IMO is in on our top pk units with Cally, is our best forward in his own end at a plus 9 and he is third on the team in scoring while being our best two way forward.
With all these factors it is amazing to me how some of you last month had him on the trading blocks for a 5th and 6th rounder. If you are truly a Ranger fan you know darn well we have not had a such a special home grown player come along since Adam Graves and we all know what this guy did while being in a Ranger uniform.
As a 30 year Ranger fan I have to say it has been really fun watching this young man grow into a very special player, and I am really glad he is doing it in a Ranger sweater. This kid will be the captain of this team as Cally plays out his time year!!
While I am thrilled to see Stepan turn on his game over the last 15 games or so you should also admit that Stepan had a very poor start to the season and looked like he'd regressed from last year or at least had stagnated. You are certainly right that we haven't had many young guys come in and make an immediate impact like Stepan has, though he's also had some benefits to come into a talented team where he hasn't had to carry the load himself.
I'd think it's fair to argue that Del Zotto's development and impact over the past few years has been more at least as impressive than Stepan's and probably more so. To eat up so many minutes at defense and cement himself in the best top four at his age is even more impressive than what Stepan has done in my opinion. Let's not forget that Stepan only outscored Del Zotto by 10 points last year. And I don't say this to knock Stepan but I think Hagelin's first year and counting has possibly been more impressive than Stepan's initial period at the club. We've also been blessed to see players like Staal, Callahan, Dubinsky and Girardi (if we are counting him) come through our club and have a huge impact though Stepan may have the upper hand over the 3 year period you've chosen. But I think all fans want to see our home-grown players succeed and that they will always have a special place in our hearts.
I understand Stepan is hot right now but that doesn't mean we can gloss over his poor start to the season and especially in the playoffs. I do hope so badly though that what we are seeing now are new steps in his development that are here to see. He is once again making himself useful on the forecheck, showing patience with the puck and using his active stick and IQ to constantly intercept pucks in all three zones. He's such a smart player.
But that doesn't mean we need to overstate his abilities either. I think Callahan is the best two-way forward on our team, not Stepan. Also, Nash is actually leading forwards and our team in plus/minus, even though I don't think it is fair at all to use that stat as a sole determinant to decide our best two-way forward, especially if you are basing it off of 20 games. Gaborik finished ahead of Stepan in plus/minus last year for example, but I doubt you will find many people backing Gaborik's all-around game over Stepan.
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