Originally posted on Fox - The Hockey Guy  |  Last updated 8/31/13
Not long ago they were considered prospects. Then they gained significant NHL seasoning and began making an impact in the highest level of hockey. Now these centers seem prepared to do some real damage: Derek Stepan, New York Rangers: After two solid NHL seasons, he emerged as a true No. 1 center last season while scoring 18 goals and earning 26 assists in 48 games. His plus-25 rating gave him a plus-47 raring for his 212 NHL games. Stepan, 23, is due for a big long-term deal – but the Rangers are up against the salary cap after refusing to buy out Brad Richards. If he signs a “bridge contract,” he will have every incentive to drive up his value this season.Nazem Kadr, Toronto Maple Leafs: His long-awaited breakout occurred last season: 18 goals and 26 assists in 48 regular seasons and another four points in seven playoff games. During his previous two NHL tours he scored just 19 points in 50 games. Kadr, 22, did fade late last season – scoring just five points with a minus-5 rating in 12 April game
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