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Rangers Player Analysis 1: Derek Stepan

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12-27-2012, 03:11 PM
  #1
Callagraves
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Rangers Player Analysis 1: Derek Stepan

So, with this ******** lockout still going on, I thought it'd be nice to actually talk hockey instead of business for a bit, and attempt an in depth analysis of our team, player by player.

We'll do this for a bit, and then go at it with a new player.

Just to start:

Derek Stepan
Born June 18, 1990 (age 22)
Hastings, MN, USA
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 172 lb (78 kg; 12 st 4 lb)
Position Center
Shoots Right

Rookie season GP 82 G21 A24 P45 PIM20
Playoffs GP5 G0 A0 P0 PIM2

201112 GP82 G17 A34 P51 PIM22
Playoffs GP20 G1 A8 P9 PIM4



Objective anaylsis:

Strengths:
Accurate passing
Terrific vision of the ice
Defensively responsible
Anticipates opponents play well
Accurate shot.
Shows high potential
Avoids injury fairly well
Has become more physical

Weaknesses:
Skating speed
slow shot release.
Disappears in the playoffs
Faceoffs?

Terrific playmaker, especially for his age, but sometimes has trouble creating offense out of nothing. His stickwork and passing accuracy is superb, and when his creativity shines, it shines bright. Good on the boards despite average size, which is small for the NHL.

Serviceable on the PK, though there's room for improvement. His ability to read a play serves him well here, though he's prone to biting on fakes and quick passes that sometimes put him out of position.


Feel free to continue, dispute, so on.

Next player will be: Marian Gaborik

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12-27-2012, 03:16 PM
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Good, creative offensive player. Could be star caliber if he had great hands in tight, but he isn't a goal scorer. Hope he keeps progressing his 2-way play and hopefully elevate himself to a Pavelski-lite player.

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12-27-2012, 03:16 PM
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Tanner Glass
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I was actually pretty disappointed with Derek last year. Expected a much bigger increase in production.
It's obvious he needs some serious Barbara Underhill

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12-27-2012, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Del Ziti View Post
I was actually pretty disappointed with Derek last year. Expected a much bigger increase in production.
It's obvious he needs some serious Barbara Underhill
50 point sophomore season? I'm thrilled.

9 points (1 goal) in 20 playoff games? No Bueno.

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12-27-2012, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Callagraves View Post
50 point sophomore season? I'm thrilled.

9 points (1 goal) in 20 playoff games? No Bueno.
6 point improvement?... Not so thrilled

Next season I'll be looking for 20/40/60

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12-27-2012, 03:57 PM
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Great analysis imo.

Although I agree he did not do much for us in the playoffs, I think it's a bit early to make "disappears in the playoffs" part of his total analysis.

I'm hoping for a lot more out of him though in the future.

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12-27-2012, 03:58 PM
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Not experiencing the dreaded sophmore slump had me happy.

Overall i thought his game improved from year one to year 2 so regardless of the small increase in production I thought he was a better player in year 2 compared to year 1.

I would love to see a little more Marc Savard in Derek Stepan in the sense that a bit more cockiness in his own playmaking ability and I think you would see a bit more production.

I would love to see Stepan start the season with Nash and Callahan and get off to a great start. I think that would boost his confidence a great deal.

Overall, I think that Stepan is a perfect #2 center. He's progressed as a player yera over year and you want that to continue.

Should be a big year for him. 3 points every 4 games would be awesome.

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12-27-2012, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Del Ziti View Post
6 point improvement?... Not so thrilled

Next season I'll be looking for 20/40/60
Maybe he's not a 60 point player? Would you honestly be disappointed if our second round pick topped out at 50 points?

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12-27-2012, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pld459666 View Post
Not experiencing the dreaded sophmore slump had me happy.

Overall i thought his game improved from year one to year 2 so regardless of the small increase in production I thought he was a better player in year 2 compared to year 1.

I would love to see a little more Marc Savard in Derek Stepan in the sense that a bit more cockiness in his own playmaking ability and I think you would see a bit more production.

I would love to see Stepan start the season with Nash and Callahan and get off to a great start. I think that would boost his confidence a great deal.

Overall, I think that Stepan is a perfect #2 center. He's progressed as a player yera over year and you want that to continue.

Should be a big year for him. 3 points every 4 games would be awesome.
Stepan is one of those few players that never played in the AHL...i wonder how much better he would be at this point if he played some games in the AHL before he made the Rangers.

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12-27-2012, 05:00 PM
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Disappears in playoffs? Come on now. 21 years old, 2nd full season, 1st playoff apperance. Cut him some slack.

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12-27-2012, 06:35 PM
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He still had 3 points in an elimination game on the road; he had a big moment.

Based on that I certainly wouldn't call him a player that disappears. Just had an inconsistent stretch.

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12-27-2012, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darko View Post
Disappears in playoffs? Come on now. 21 years old, 2nd full season, 1st playoff apperance. Cut him some slack.
Not to mention he was one of the USA's best players in the WJC in 2010 with 14 points in 7 games, and he was one of the best forwards on a Wisconsin team that's been to a National Championship. Too early to say he disappears in the playoffs, although I'd like to see him score more in them.

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12-27-2012, 06:59 PM
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I think it's fair to be critical of aspects of Derek's game last year. I think he could definitely stand to improve his conditioning.

However, there are not many other players on the Rangers who could pull this off:


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12-27-2012, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HatTrick Swayze View Post
I think it's fair to be critical of aspects of Derek's game last year. I think he could definitely stand to improve his conditioning.

However, there are not many other players on the Rangers who could pull this off:

PRECISELY

I also love the video evidence. More of that.

It's that sort of brilliant play that shows D-Steps potential. He made Mike freakin' Rupp look like Gabby there.

I'm not labeling him a playoff choker just yet, but so far he has disappeared come playoff time. I'm fairly sure he'll turn it around in his future, but I can't speculate that well.

What about his skating? His north south speed isn't awful, but his agility and ability to outskate an opponent hasn't really shown up. Think he'll turn it up a notch? Needs some underhill?

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12-27-2012, 08:22 PM
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need to find way to get time and space for plays and shots or otherwise.

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12-27-2012, 09:41 PM
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Jaromir Jagr
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Stepan's biggest weakness is that he is average in nearly all facets of the game. He really doesn't have a particular skill set. I'd say where he lacks most though is skating and speed.

Sometimes being average isn't bad though and I'm not saying Stepan is a bad player - just that he is near average in every category. What he is slightly better than average in (passing) makes up for what he is slightly worse than average in (skating). Then there's the middle - shooting.

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12-28-2012, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaromir Jagr View Post
Stepan's biggest weakness is that he is average in nearly all facets of the game. He really doesn't have a particular skill set. I'd say where he lacks most though is skating and speed.

Sometimes being average isn't bad though and I'm not saying Stepan is a bad player - just that he is near average in every category. What he is slightly better than average in (passing) makes up for what he is slightly worse than average in (skating). Then there's the middle - shooting.
At 22, 50 points isn't really average, so much as on the up-side of average.

I think the type of player Stepan is doesn't really bloom until later. His biggest asset (passing, vision) will be amplified, and his weaknesses can be ironed out, or worsen with age.

Cally put up points at a rate of 40 points a season his first two full seasons with the club, and once he found his game saw his PPG rate shoot up by twenty points. I don't think it's crazy to expect something similar from D-Step.

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12-28-2012, 02:21 AM
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In regards to the ideas that he will grow into his top-6 role the way Cally did, he will lack the shift in shift out push and drive and consistency he'll need to elevate his game. Having that said, he suffers from what many younger players are most susceptible to and that's finding a way to channel his skill set. Watching Step play is sometimes really frustrating because you know he can execute but the lack of speed and ability to make something happen really impedes his opportunities to be effective on paper.

Step needs to find another dimension to his game different from simply elevating his game. Cally is slightly better than average at everything and has a lot of Callyness and step has potential to have a lot more finesse. I'm not pulling a "Bolland is better than Callahan" by the way. Right now though, he's not channeling his forces well.

Step is our best dictionary "break-out year" candidate. I really do think it's a matter of finesse and channeling his abilities better. The inconsistencies he has had in the two regular seasons and his unsatisfactory performance in the playoff comes down to not being able to execute. When the games are that much tougher in the playoffs, execution becomes even more important.

Being clutch is almost playing the situation and adapting to it and with Step there's an absolute sense of inflexibility to his approach sometimes.

I'm a bit of a nut job and a mentalist so my take on everything analytic tends to go toward a different dimension
There's always potential in the world of hockey players. The difference between a player who's drafted in the late rounds but manages to crack a top 9 or even a top 6 spot and a player who's draft in the first 3 rounds that fails to crack that same spot is their ability to channel their skill set as hockey players and execute.

Much like cooking, the conceptualization of a dish is only as good as the execution of it and among the elite who all have their version of the perfect conceptualization, it comes down to execution at every step of the way and that's where Step needs to channel his energies and focus toward.

Every player tends to have something they're consistently able to bring tot he table almost every single game. Richie always carries the ability to make plays and initiate and offensive push. Gabby doesn't falter often when in good position to score goals. Boyle on the 3rd or 4th line can really grind out a shift in the offensive zone gaining momentum and taking pressure off the D and making the opposition play D. They all do these things pretty darn consistently but with step, he does some things well from time to time and then he'll disappear from that role for a few games and then show up being consistent for 4 games at something else.

Stamkos scoring all the goals from his golden spot is a microcosm of what I was just rambling about. When you have that role you play and can execute time after time, a rhythm develops and strengths are brought to the forefront where they can be execute. Step needs to find consistency within strengths. Within lines and line ups, it's difficult to produce consistently without a niche. Being average at everything is fine. The problem is the lack of consistency within the average and also lack of a silver bullet skill set if that makes sense.

I'm going to be bombarded by someone because I said too much and left too many holes


Last edited by Cresto: 12-28-2012 at 02:45 AM.
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12-28-2012, 07:30 AM
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A couple things--it's not just Stepan's passing skills that make him a creative player--it's how he thinks the game and both these skills are well above average. And his ability to see the ice and understand where his teammates are helps him on the defensive side of the puck as well.

The second thing is he made decent improvement in his second year on face-offs and if that continues--and no reason why it shouldn't--eventually he should be at least in the 50-50 range.

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12-28-2012, 07:34 AM
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It's a huge win to get a consistent 50+ player with a pick towards the back of the second round. You might then watch the player and HOPE he becomes more, but it's silly to be disappointed with him if he doesn't fulfill your lofty hopes.

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12-28-2012, 09:31 AM
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I don't think Steps tops out at a 50 point player, though. He's still only 22. This idea of him "choking" in the playoffs is absolutely ridiculous and goes to show how nuts this board can be sometimes (don't worry, I still love you all :wink.

The fact of the matter is, he's not a shiny prospect anymore and some people are obsessed with that, so they won't appreciate the fact he's already a very solid 50+ point player. Put him with a guy who can finish (not a coincidence he did his best work with Gabby) and he'll rack up the points.

I was really looking forward to him further defining his game this season. Thanks, NHL.

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12-28-2012, 02:14 PM
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in all likelyhood Derek Stepan is going to play with some combination of Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, Carl Hagelin, Chris Krider, or Ryan Callahan.

Personally speaking, I'd never put Nash, Richards, and Gaborik together on the same line. So he's going to likely be playing with Gabby, who he had tons of chemistry with last season, and, my guess, Hagelin.

Kreider/Hagelin/Callahan - Richards - Nash
Kreider/Hagelin/Callahan - Stepan - Gaborik

Stepan would have to either be injured for a long period of time, have his linemates be injured for long periods of time, or just flat out have a horrible season not to put up 50ish points again.

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12-28-2012, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inferno View Post
in all likelyhood Derek Stepan is going to play with some combination of Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, Carl Hagelin, Chris Krider, or Ryan Callahan.

Personally speaking, I'd never put Nash, Richards, and Gaborik together on the same line. So he's going to likely be playing with Gabby, who he had tons of chemistry with last season, and, my guess, Hagelin.

Kreider/Hagelin/Callahan - Richards - Nash
Kreider/Hagelin/Callahan - Stepan - Gaborik

Stepan would have to either be injured for a long period of time, have his linemates be injured for long periods of time, or just flat out have a horrible season not to put up 50ish points again.
I think we'll see everybody play with everybody at some point. It's Torts.

I do agree that Gabby Richie and Nash does top stack the team, I imagine that we'll see it at times. Having an 1A and 1B is better than just a 1 and a 2, but I don't think you have those 3 pieces and don't try them together for the hell of it.

Plus, a powerplay with Gaborik, Richards, Nash, Callahan, and Whatever defenseman you put out there (Del Zotto, ideally) is, on paper, SICK. But, that also allows a second unit including Stepan, Hags, Kreider(?), McD, and lets be honest, probably Richards again at the point.

I may or may not be salivating. Don't judge me.

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12-28-2012, 03:02 PM
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I won't restate what's already been said about his skillset. However, I watched a ton of Stepan while he was at Wisconsin and he was always at his best when he was playing with an edge to his game. He needs to get his swagger back and he'll be even more dangerous. You see it at times, but occasionally he looks a little too timid.

He certainly has 20-40 upside with more experience and the right linemates.

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12-29-2012, 12:57 AM
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I expected his numbers to drop a bit after his rookie season. His 3rd season will be very telling as to what kind of player he will be. Also very interested to see how he performs in the playoffs as he gains more experience during that time of year.

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