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About Last Season: Derek Stepan

A veteran forward who never quite found his place with the Hurricanes, Stepan spent more of his season than expected watching from the press box.

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Derek Stepan By the Numbers

  • Age: 31
  • NHL Seasons: 12
  • Scoring: 9 goals, 10 assists, 19 points in 58 games
  • Playoff Scoring: 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points in 3 games
  • Advanced Statistics: 53.45 CF%, 52.63 SCF%, 52.52 xGF%, 48.08 GF%
  • Average TOI: 9:47 ES, 0:01 PP, 0:58 SH
  • Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

It was a weird year in Raleigh for Derek Stepan, who for the first time in his NHL career found himself fighting to be on the ice rather than in the press box for a good chunk of the season.

Stepan, who signed a one-year deal with the Canes ahead of 2021-22, came in to provide forward depth. When he played, he was fine. He produced 19 points in 58 games — more points in fewer games than both Steven Lorentz and Jordan Martinook — while playing some valuable minutes on the penalty kill.

But for Stepan, the issue was his inability to consistently find his name on the lineup card. He played in just 58 regular season games — again, fewer than the other rotational players guys in Lorentz and Martinook (who evened suffered a lengthy injury) — and he dressed for just three of the Hurricanes’ 14 playoff games.

After scoring just six points in 23 games during the 2021 portion of the season, Stepan actually got kind of hot when the calendar flipped to 2022.

He had a point in each of his first two games of the new year, and he followed that up shortly after with a two-point effort against the Bruins on Jan. 18. From Jan. 1 to Jan. 27, Stepan scored three goals and had four assists over the course of nine games. During that stretch, Stepan featured in nine of the team’s 10 games.

But after that little stretch, Stepan once again found himself struggling to play consistently. He finished the year with just six points in his last 26 games, finding himself sidelined for 16 of Carolina’s final 42 games. The addition of Max Domi certainly didn’t help Stepan find the ice any more, and the somewhat unexpected every day role of Seth Jarvis also played a role in Stepan’s delegation to the list of scratches at times.

Stepan actually finished the season on a three-game point streak as he played with the Canes’ playoff spot locked in place, but none of that momentum carried into the postseason as he was sidelined for the first three games of the first-round series against the Bruins.

It’s kind of a shame that Stepan wasn’t able to fully find his footing with the Hurricanes because he’s a good player who produced pretty good results when he was given the opportunity to play.

When Stepan played in the regular season, the Hurricanes were 39-13-6 (.724). Without Stepan, the Hurricanes were just 15-7-2 (.667).

It wasn’t all a lost cause for Stepan, though. He had some big moments for the Hurricanes, the fourth team of his NHL career. He reached 800 NHL games played and 500 points during this season.

By all accounts, Stepan handled his unusual, mostly unwanted role with the Hurricanes with complete professionalism and grace. I wrote about Stepan here back in March, and it was clear all season that he was a great locker room guy that everyone loved.

Exit Interview


How would you grade Derek Stepan’s 2021-22 season?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    A - Outstanding Performance
    (11 votes)
  • 44%
    B - Above Average Performance
    (101 votes)
  • 45%
    C - Average Performance
    (104 votes)
  • 5%
    D - Below Average Performance
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    F - Significantly Below Average Performance
    (0 votes)
229 votes total Vote Now

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