The New York Rangers‘ top line center, Derek Stepan, set a career high of 53 points after a great game against the Edmonton Oilers which featured him assisting on three of the Rangers’ goals. That gives Stepan a total of 38 assists on the year with six games remaining to be played. Two of those goals were primary assists on linemate Rick Nash‘s 24th and 25th goals of the season. With Stepan just two away from the 40-assist mark, the talented center deserves recognition for his impressive assist total.
Stepan is tied for the lead in scoring for the Rangers with Mats Zuccarello. Both have 53 points while Stepan has a team high 38 assists. While his 15 goals would represent a career-low in his NHL career, every team needs a player to create opportunities for their other scorers. Not many players can boast a season with 40 assists and Stepan has an opportunity to do just that.
As it stands, he is among the top 25 in assists by forwards in the entire NHL. His 53 points put him among the top 50 scoring forwards as well. Other forwards near his assist total include Mikko Koivu and Bryan Little, both of whom are top line centers that are known for their play-making prowess.
While Stepan needs to iron out several parts of his game including his consistency and his goal production, there is no denying that he has had a very successful start to his career. He is only 23 years old and has plenty more to offer.
This is only the beginning of what Rangers fans should be expecting. Look for Stepan to take the next step in his career very soon. He was close to a point per game in the shortened 2012-13 season. Most star players break out in their early twenties and Stepan is right in that range. As it stands, the Rangers could have a very special player on their hands.