Today we’re going to hear about Derek Stepan, a centerman who Hockey’s Future recently ranked as the No. 44 best prospect in the NHL.
Here is what they had to say about him:
Stepan was an unknown when the Rangers drafted him out of Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the summer of 2008. The Rangers loved his natural scoring ability, leadership ability, and hockey mind when they selected him in the second round.
Since then, Stepan has performed well in his two seasons with the University of Wisconsin, but his biggest play has been on the international stage.
As the captain of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at this year’s U-20 WJCs, Stepan recorded four goals and 10 assists in seven games, which made him the tournament scoring leader. Expected to return to Madison next fall, Stepan is two to three years away from an NHL career.
Honestly, I’m a little surprised by the high ranking, mostly because of Stepan’s size. He’s just 6′0″ and is listed at just 168 pounds, but I suppose there have been plenty of strong players that have been that size or smaller.
The fact that he isn’t expected to be vying for playing time for at least two years gives him plenty of time to bulk up, although I’m not sure exactly how much bulk this speedy center should be adding.
You wouldn’t want to take away from his strength.