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Derek Stepan Heating Up At The Right Time For New York Rangers

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

All season, the New York Rangers and their fans have been waiting for Derek Stepan to hit his stride. After holding out of training camp due to contract disputes, Stepan fell out of grace with some fans, and that number definitely increased with his first half of the season. Committing turnover after turnover and skating like he was in molasses, Stepan was having a very rough time adjusting to new head coach Alain Vigneault‘s system, and you can understand why.  Never in my life have I ever heard of a player who was better after missing an entire training camp. Since the conclusion of the Olympic break, however, Stepan has upped his game, is showing more determination, and most importantly, is being more decisive with the puck.  The once confused looking Stepan is now making quick passes, instead of holding onto the puck too long and turning it over, and is taking more shots, resulting in an increased goal total. Not only that, but Stepan is now 2nd on the Rangers in total points, with 54, and only one point behind the leader, Mats Zuccarello, with 55.  It is fully in the realm of possibility that with the poor start Stepan had to this season, that he could very well finish as the Rangers’ No. 1 point getter for the second season in a row. With each passing game, Stepan is standing out more and more, and looking like the player the Rangers hoped he would have been earlier this season. But what is done is done; what matters is that he is playing very well now, and is heating up just at the right time of year for the Rangers. Steven Carollo is a New York Rangers and sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, add him on Facebook, connect with him on LinkedIn, and join his Google network. Related: Heartbreaking Loss Still Results In A Big Point For New York Rangers 5 Free Agents the New York Rangers Should Target This Offseason New York Rangers Still Control Their Own Destiny Despite Loss