The Rangers selected center Derek Stepan out of Wisconsin in the second round of the 2008 draft. He captained the U.S. World Junior team to a gold medal in 2010 and won the Lars-Erik Sjoberg award as the best rookie in Rangers training camp later that year.
See Stepan's bio and statistics
6) THE ROOKIES
It's been a while since the Rangers had three rookies playing significant roles on a playoff team. In fact, no other NHL team has three rookies playing as many minutes as Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer do for the Rangers.
Stepan scored 21 goals this year. He brings needed playmaking and creativity to the Rangers' top six forwards. McDonagh and Sauer have become the Rangers' third and fourth defensemen, an extremely rare feat in the NHL. Perhaps most astounding is the fact that all three youngsters do not seemed overwhelmed. The postseason will be their baptism under fire; how each of them holds up could have a lot to say about the Rangers' playoff fate.
The Rangers' Derek Stepan celebrates scoring an empty-net goal to seal a 5-3 win for the Rangers against the Boston Bruins. (Apr. 4, 2011)
Derek Stepan participates in the NHL All-Star Skills competition. (Jan. 29, 2011)
The Rangers' Derek Stepan shoots the puck against John Carlson of the Washington Capitals. (Nov. 9, 2010)
Rangers center Derek Stepan celebrates scoring the game-tying goal during the third period against Tampa Bay. (Dec. 23, 2010)
Rangers center Derek Stepan celebrates a goal by teammate Dan Girardi as Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff (34) looks on. (Nov. 22, 2010)
The Rangers' Derek Stepan skates against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. (Oct. 11, 2010)
Rangers center Derek Stepan looks on against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. (Oct. 11, 2010)
Rangers rookie Derek Stepan watches his shot hit the top corner of the net as Buffalo defenseman Craig Rivet (52), goalie Ryan Miller and defenseman Andrej Sekera (44) look on. It was Stepan's second goal of the night in his NHL debut. (Oct. 9, 2010)
The Rangers' Derek Stepan tries to fend off Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov during a preseason game. (Sept. 23, 2010)
The Rangers' Derek Stepan tries to get past the Devils' Anton Volchenkov behind the New Jersey goal during a preseason game. (Sept. 23, 2010)
The Rangers' Derek Stepan scores a shorthanded goal past Ottawa Senators goalie Brian Elliot during the second period of a preseason game. (Oct. 1, 2010)
Former Rangers second-round draft pick Derek Stepan captained the gold medal-winning U.S. team in the World Juniors and led the tournament in scoring. (Jan. 5, 2010)