Shawn’s Musings: I Miss Derek Stepan

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Hey guys, Shawn here with another one of his posts where you’ll probably disagree with it.

Guess, what. That’s the joy of the internet. We can each have our own opinion.

Today’s topic is something that I’m sure will be talked about as me being whiny, or complaining way too much.

I miss Derek Stepan.

Now, I know we traded him for what turned out to be Tony DeAngelo and Lias Andersson. While I wasn’t expecting an immediate impact out of Andersson (okay, I’m lying) I was expecting to see DeAngelo at least as the New York Rangers seventh defenseman.

Now he’s in Hartford, fighting to stay in their lineup as well. Yet, that’s a whole different problem, as the logjam they have there is really troubling, and you know I really can’t put my finger on why we have this problem…

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, Derek Stepan.

While we know what the reason was for the trade, let’s see if its impact was necessary.

Why Trade Derek?

It was a business move that according to many, “had to be done”. His no-trade clause was about to kick in, his cap hit of $6.5 million over the next four years was going to be a challenging one. Especially since the team has a lot of RFAs coming up in the next couple of years that Jeff Gorton will want to keep, or at least attempt to. Guys like Kevin Hayes, Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei, JT Miller, the list goes on.

Now, business wise this made sense. Trade the guy before his no-trade hits, and we won’t be stuck with his cap hit. All will be fine, we’ll put our faith into Mika Zibanejad, who has all the tools to take it to the next level. We’ll see if he’s ready to take the plunge.

Zibanejad as 1C

Was a great experiment, and was paying off big time. Zibanejad with Chris Kreider and Buchnevich were using their strengths to be a top first line in the NHL. But most importantly, they showed when they played together how well they gelled to be a consistent line.

Zibanejad took the new role and ran with it. Even stepping up in the leadership aspect, becoming more vocal. He was truly embracing it.

Until.

Now I miss Derek

With Zibanejad getting concussed for the fifth time in his career, it’s a glaring hole. A glaring issue that we have depth issues at center. You know, a guy like Derek Stepan, he would well you know, help.

Now Stepan is missed in other areas, especially with the penalty kill being one of his strengths, but his defensive play five on five is also missed.

Kevin Hayes has shown that he can take that role, but is still adjusting to playing the defensive-minded role, something I’m sure as we can all tell, wasn’t something he was used to playing.

The center depth was going to be an issue all year long, being the fact if we lost Zibanejad, we wouldn’t really have much of a sure first replacement to be our first center while he was out.

Now What?

Now, the simple answer is who can we call up from Hartford. You see guys, I had this crazy idea, why not give Filip Chytil a try. Well..

Still waiting for Jeff to respond back to me on how to handle this. Saturday was a weird day when I saw that.

So, maybe not Chytil, but the answer isn’t David Desharnais. While I like what he has to offer, and what he’s brought so far to now the KDB line, it’s not going to be sustainable. His minutes will diminish because that’s how Alain Vigneault rolls, and we’ll be stuck until Zibanejad comes back.

I think the toughest thing right now is the constant yo-yo-ing of JT Miller. Going from wing to center in the pre-season, sticking to the wing, and now back at center, it’s really hard for him to get his game going. Yet, we’re seeing him stick with it as he’s been playing really solidly. Yet, let me say this, Miller is NOT a center. Thank you for reading that.

I’m always going to miss Derek Stepan, it’s just the way it’s going to be but now. I’m just going to miss him more than I have with this injury to Zibanejad. Let’s hope it’s not super long or this won’t be super fun for the team.

4 comments

  • I didn’t like the Step trade when it was made, still don’t and years from now will still hate it. I don’t want to hear it had to be now since his no movement clause was going to kick in, THEY GAVE HIM THAT CLAUSE. The two places where they have missed him the most is his two way play on the ice and leadership he brought on the bench and locker room.

    One thing I will never understand this site whether under its current name or previous one is the love affair for Kevin Hayes. It was a signing that had to be made I will admit to that. Years of not having a 1st rd pick had left a glaring hole in their prospect cupboard and he definitely came with a boatload of talent. However he had continually disappointed fans and the organization. He has already been called out one to many times for his lack of desire on ice, weight/playing shape issues and decisions on the ice with the puck. I still haven’t seen anyone of the writers call him out for his gutless, that’s right GUTLESS, play when the playoffs come around. In his 34 game playoff career he has 2 goals 8 assists for 10 points. Let’s put some perspective to that, Kevin Klein in 14 less games has 4 less points, Brady Skjei in 17 less games or half the amount of games played than Hayes has 3 less points and this sites favorite whipping boy Tanner Glass has 1 less goal and 5 less points in 4 less games played than Kevin Hayes. So this idea that Stepan had to be moved because Kevin Hayes’ contract is coming up really burns a place that the sun doesn’t shine. I am sick and tired of hearing that the Rangers need to make a decision on Hayes, the decision should be one of the loudest and most resounding DO NOT RESIGN HIM ever heard among any team’s front office.

    Now with Step gone and Zibanejad our idefiniteky Hayes becomes this team’s #1 center, God help us. So what will be this sites and some fans excuse when he disappears once again when the pressure is on him to achieve.

    I for one am done watching him dog it on the ice while wearing the Broadway Blues and wouldn’t lose any sleep watching him be sent away. With each passing day this Stepan for DeAngelo and 7th pick, Lias Andersson gets worse and worse and harder and harder to stomach.

  • I may not be as down on Hayes as you Mike but I definitely agree on just about everything you said. You would never know he’s 6 ft 5 by the way he battles. That’s probably cause he doesn’t really battle. He may go in the corner or along the boards poking his stick around but e isn’t using his size to knock guys off the puck the way he should be. He’s also famous for skating around with the puck holding onto it with one hand for an hour but then usually doesn’t do anything with it. That’s when he uses his size and it’s really just his reach he’s using. But regardless of all that he has his moments where he makes a nice quick wrist shot or good pass but I much rather see Stepan here with his NTC and let Hayes and someone else go if needed. I’m also wondering now about Zibanejad with having 5 concussions now. Boy if this turns out to be even worse then just missing some games now then trading Stepan will end up becoming the trade that killed the Rangers. I’m sure it sounds nuts to some of you but when you trade your top center and your new top center goes down for good lire done. Hayes can’t fill the number 2 spot so he sure ain’t filling number 1 spot. I didn’t like the trade when it happened either and Zibanejad getting hurt was my big worry and that’s without even knowing he had a history of concussions. The thing that gets me most is when I hear fans say “they had to trade Stepan before his NTC came into effect”. Well why did they give it to him in the first place then if they were gonna say we gots trade him before it goes into effect. Just a few years ago I had such high hopes for this team and now I don’t know what they’re doing anymore

  • Many times people seem to think just because a guy is 6′ and taller he should be a real physical tough player. Well that’s not the case. I know of many big tall men who are just passive. Hayes looks like he’s laboring when he skates but he’s not, go back and watch how many times he gets back on defense. Would I like to see him be more physical, YEA but it’s not who he is. I can take him or leave him but he is a good hockey play. Let’s not try and make him something we want him to be. He is the man GOD made him to be and no one can change who he is.

    • I never once complained about him being not physical enough. He has issues when the game is bigger he disappears. His lack of scoring in the playoffs has nothing to do with his physical makeup but has a lot to do with his mental makeup. Rangers will be making a tremendous mistake resigning him especially for more money.

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