Former New York Rangers center Derek Stepan is set to make an emotional return to Madison Square Garden tonight.
Derek Stepan played in a New York Rangers uniform for seven seasons. A second-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, 51st overall, Stepan registered 128 goals and 232 assists for 360 points over 515 games with the Blueshirts.
After a June trade, Stepan no longer bleeds Ranger blue, but now the red of the Arizona Coyotes.
As most of this day will be spent discussing the pros and cons of the trade and what he meant to the Rangers, let’s take a look back at Stepan’s best moments in New York.
Nice to Meet You
Stepan did what no other Ranger before him had ever done in their first game: He scored a hat-trick, this one coming against the Buffalo Sabres.
In Game 7 of the second-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals, Stepan scored the series-winner in overtime to send the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals.
In the 2014 Stadium Series game against the New Jersey Devils at Yankee Stadium, Stepan beats Cory Schneider on the penalty shot.
It’s Raining Hats
In December 2014, Stepan completes the hat trick against the New Jersey Devils in a game played at MSG.
In his first game back after suffering a fractured jaw at the hands of Montreal’s Brandon Prust, Stepan scored twice in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Canadiens as the Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994.
We wish Derek Stepan well, so long as his winning doesn’t interfere with the Rangers’ success.