Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 6/27/12

Whether the 'sophomore curse' in hockey is a form of fictional imagination or an actual disease that lingers into the games of second-year players, Derek Stepan was a victim of the curse in his 2011-12 campaign. It didn't hit him hard or substantially lower his value to the franchise by any means, but it was there and it had its effects. As just a 22-year-old, however, all of this surely is not a large concern after just two seasons at the National Hockey League level for Derek. He had his ups and downs this season, but then again, who on the Rangers didn't?

The Good: Despite falling short of the 20-goal mark this past year, which he exceeded in his freshman season, Stepan did manage to record ten more assists than he did in 2010-11, placing him fourth on the Blueshirts in scoring. Stepan showed just how great of a playmaker he can become many times this season, especially when playing alongside Ryan Callahan on the second line when that opportunity presented itself. I think it is safe to say that Stepan did find the type of player he wishes to become as his career progresses. 

Plus, he's versatile in the sense that head coach John Tortorella can use Steps on the powerplay, on the penalty-kill, he can take faceoffs, he's very discipline for the most part and appears to be an extremely quick learner. The traits are there for Derek Stepan to become a fantastic player in this League, but now it is just a matter of piecing them all together to form the perfect package. 

The Bad: After a very successful rookie year, expectations were set high for Stepan coming into 2011-12. When analyzing a player, I weigh in expectations probably more than anything else, which is why Derek ended up with a grade of a 'C' when I did the team report cards several weeks ago. Personally, I expected a lot more out of Derek than what we saw this season, as did management and even himself. Stepan is a much better player than the one that was noticeable two out of four weeks in the month. He's a better player than the one who played nervous in the postseason and was pretty much invisible. 

Now this is not to say Stepan took steps backward this season, but it is just that he did not take any forward, which is a bummer after a highlight rookie year.

Highlight of the Year:

 

Overall Assessment: Stepan's best hockey is ahead of him, and as I said above, he's yet to piece together the puzzle. Once he does that he will become the player that he and the Rangers had hoped. I'm aware there was some talk of Steps possibly being traded earlier in the offseason, but I think that is a load of rubbish if you ask me. The Rangers have not given up on this young man - they have no reason to. Allow him to play out the final year of his entry-level deal and then make judgements from there. 

Report Card Grade: C

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Manfred blames MLBPA for no significant rule changes in 2017

Report: Zach Britton has potential oblique injury

The Rock returns to WWE, leaves CM Punk a voicemail after 'Raw'

After outfield collision, Ichiro pranks teammate and claims he’s been cut

Simeon Rice gets vulgar with radio host over HOF debate

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ronda Rousey to be guest star on NBC’s ‘Blindspot’

Lakers replace Jim Buss with Magic Johnson, fire Kupchak

Report: James Harrison, Steelers share mutual interest in 2017 return

Jimmy Garoppolo’s mom keeping him up to speed on his trade rumors

Report: Clippers intent on keeping both Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

Slam dunks and startups: How all-star technology took over the NBA in The Big Easy

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 100 games with two different teams

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker