Former Rangers center Derek Stepan retires after 13 NHL seasons

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

Former New York Rangers’ center Derek Stepan announced his retirement from the NHL today after 13 seasons. Stepan suited up for the Rangers (seven seasons), Coyotes (three seasons), Hurricanes (2 seasons) and Senators (one season), compiling 182 goals and 333 assists for 515 career points.

“After 13 years in the NHL I’ve decided to retire,” Stepan said in an official statement. “I want to thank my family and friends for always supporting me and allowing me to live my dreams. I want to thank the four organizations I had the privilege of playing for, and to my teammates for allowing me to be part of their family. Finally, I want to thank the fans. It was an honor to play in front of you. I’m forever grateful for this game and I look forward to the next chapter.”

While he played for different clubs throughout the course of his career, Stepan’s time with the Rangers was the most significant part of his playing days. Stepan contributed greatly to the legacy of the Rangers from 2010-2017, as he registered 128 goals and 232 assists for 360 points, while adding 49 career playoff points with the Blueshirts.

The Rangers released a statement on their social media platforms, congratulating Stepan and thanking him for his time with the organization:

“For the leadership. For the laughs. For the moments that still give us chills. Thank you, Step. Wishing you all the best.”

Derek Stepan: A Historic Beginning in the Big Apple

NHL: New York Rangers at Detroit Red Wings
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Stepan’s tenure with the Rangers got off to an outstanding start after he was selected in the second round (51st overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Who could forget his NHL debut on October 9th, 2010, against the Buffalo Sabres? A young Stepan, only 20 years old, scored a hat trick, becoming the first Ranger in history to score three goals in his first NHL game. Step played in all 82 games that season, scoring 21 goals, proving he belonged in New York.

Serving as a Core Player and Playoff Hero

Stepan would quickly establish himself as a dependable and effective top-six forward for the Rangers over time. His consistency helped the club tremendously, especially in crucial situations. Stepan frequently excelled under pressure, whether it was with his game-tying goals, power-play contributions, and even his defense late in games.

However, Stepan will always be remembered for his heroics in the playoffs. His signature moment as a Ranger came in Game 7 of the 2015 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Washington Capitals, as he scored the game-winning goal in overtime, completing the Rangers comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. Stepan’s ability to perform well under pressure was proven by this goal, as he helped advance the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Legacy in the NHL and with the Rangers

Stepan will be remembered as a dedicated and trustworthy two-way forward who made a big impact on the teams he played for. Despite the fact that he might not have been as well known as some other players, his commitment to his profession and his leadership abilities had a long-lasting effect on the organizations he was a member of.

Stepan’s legacy with the Rangers is marked by significant achievements, key moments, and his overall contributions to the team during his tenure. He left the Rangers with a reputation for reliability, leadership, and special moments. While every player goes through highs and lows throughout their career, Stepan’s time with the Rangers is mainly regarded favorably and with respect by the organization and the fan base.

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