needed to get about 30 games in before he started to understand how to maintain consistency through the NHL grind. The Rangers' 20-year-old center is hoping to spend the second half of his rookie season proving he can do it for the long haul.
"I think that at this point my body is in good shape, I'm not too banged up and I'm playing with a good amount of confidence," Stepan told NHL.com Monday. "I'm still learning, still a rookie and I'm still going to make mistakes, but I feel good."
He should. Stepan has been earning his steady ice time.
Stepan closed the 2010 calendar year with 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) over the final 22 games of the year. He went pointless in his first four games of 2011, but he said they were some of his best games of the season. He finally was rewarded last Saturday with a goal in a 2-1 win at St. Louis.