Stepan joins the Yotes from New York via a trade Friday that included Antti Raanta in a swap for the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and Anthony DeAngelo.
Stepan is probably the odds-on favorite to take over the vacant captaincy with Arizona after having served as an alternate for New York. In addition to his leadership, the center will look to extend his four-year 50-plus point streak. The 27-year-old is likely a lock to suit up on Arizona's top power-play unit as well -- a role he thrived in with the Rangers as he notched four goals and 14 helpers while averaging 2:58 of ice time last season. In addition to his impressive offensive stats, Stepan is a solid defender, as evident by his plus-19 rating and inclusion on the penalty kill.
Stepan wrapped up the 2016-17 campaign with 17 goals, 38 assists and a plus-19 rating as well as a career-high 209 shots in 81 games.
He's been almost metronomic offensively over the past four seasons, finishing with point totals between 53 and 57 every time, although his pace has varied. It's nice that Stepan saw a bit of an uptick in shots this year, but that was accompanied by a career-worst 8.1 shooting percentage. In an ideal world, he'd be the Rangers' second-line center, as that's a better fit for the soon-to-be 27-year-old's skills, but unless the team makes a major move, expect Stepan to be back in his role on the top trio once again next year. He's under contract with the Rangers beyond the end of this decade.
Stepan synced up with Ryan McDonagh on a Chris Kreider man-advantage goal Thursday, helping out in a 4-1 win over the Senators to tie the conference semifinal series at two games apiece.
New York only had five forwards leaving the home barn without at least one point in this Game 4 contest, and the apple by Stepan helped stretch his point streak to three games. The veteran pivot is an intriguing fantasy option, especially with the Rangers possessing the momentum heading into Saturday's road tilt.
Stepan scored a goal in Saturday's 6-5 double-overtime loss to the Senators in Game 2. He also fired six shots on net.
Unfortunately, the veteran center also skated to a plus-2. While the snipe and amount of rubber he threw at Sens netminder Craig Anderson are great from a fantasy standpoint, the fact that Stepan went just 8-for-25 (32 percent) in the faceoff dot suggests he'll need to be better when the series shifts to Madison Square Garden for Game 3 on Tuesday -- especially if the Blueshirts hope to climb out of a 2-0 deficit.
Stepan potted an empty-net goal in Saturday's series-clinching Game 6 victory over the Canadiens.
It was the first goal of the series for Stepan, who had been held to just one assist in the previous five games. He's been known to struggle at times in the postseason, but his 45 points in 91 career playoff games certainly aren't that bad. Stepan is an elite playmaker and the Rangers will be looking for more from him in the next round when they face the winner of the Boston-Ottawa series.