The regular season is done. Who would you vote for as our regular season MVP. For me it has to be Derek Stepan. We all expected him to make some strides but no one expected him to literally carry/lead the team in terms of offensive production. He has become a COMPLETE player and IMO without him stepping it up we don't come anywhere near the playoffs.
"Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction."
That said, if Derek Stepan didn't step up this year, especially during stretches when Lundqvist was just average (for his standards), we wouldn't be a playoff team. He's a very solid #2, in my opinion.
Stepan had a nice season but Lundqvist is the player that gives the team a chance to win every night.
The defense really struggled without Staal, and Girardi and McDonagh didn't play as well as they did a year ago. The team lost a lot of good two-way players in the offseason. The offense was inconsistent as always. But Hank was there to bail the team out, just like he has many seasons before.
The guy being in Vezina discussions, just as basically every year. He holds the team together and we were forced to play him basically every night to stay in the race. Stepan has had a huge season though and is the #2. Nash ends up at 3rd.
Lundqvist, though I would not chastise anyone who picks Stepan. What a season for him. I used to be a critic of his. I didn't think he had the consistency or skill to be a reliable 2C, but here he is now just finishing up nearly a PPG season. Thats's 1C **** right there. Even though I never really bashed him, I still doubted him so this message goes directly to Stepan: I am an idiot and the crow is delicious. That is all.
We don't make the playoffs without Lundqvist or Stepan. Stepan really bailed us out with Richards crapping the bed this year, but Richards does seem to be coming around at the right time finally. I have to say I'm tremendously excited with this team offensively recently. We're averaging like 3.5 goals a game or something along those lines this month if I'm remembering the statistic correctly.
#2 Center Derek Stepan. I expect greatness from Lundqvist every season and so does everyone else in the league but with Richards' terrible play for most of the season if Stepan doesn't step up big time we're not in the playoffs right now.
Hank will probably continue to be our most important player as long as he's playing, but I had to vote Steps. With the strides he made this year, and the times when this team really struggled to score, he would usually be the one to get things going. He was the one getting the big goals when getting a goal at all was in doubt. This franchise has been craving for a 1st line center for the longest time and against all odds they've finally got one from within. He finished the season our top scorer and among the +/- leaders of the league despite having a very poor start to the season. And he often got Nash going when Nash was not producing. Steps was our best player and MVP.
I'd still go with Henrik, though this season Stepan made it one of the toughest decisions as far as picking the NYR regular season MVP. Maybe in a full-length season, Stepan would have cooled off and it would have been a wider margin of victory for Hank. They were both excellent, and they needed to be for the Rangers to qualify for the playoffs.
I'm all for Henrik but if Step doesn't deserve it then when will someone other than Henrik take MVP? Cally robs Step of the SMEEA and now you guys are too. Tsk tsk.
Without either one, we'd probably be done but when your forward out performs, Gaborik, Richards, Nash in a season and is the catalyst, playmaker and finisher on offense at a time when our center depth was **** and our offense was impotent, that's some serious good done right there.