When asked why two young players in Stepan in Hagelin are so comfortable playing with a star like Nash, John Tortorella told the Daily News, “I just don’t think they are afraid. I think sometimes when you start playing with top players, you end up trying to get them the puck all the time or you just change your game because you might be a little nervous about it. Hags is a very confident guy, which is good, and Step is a guy that’s been here and understands the personnel. I thought played his best game of the year in Boston. He was killing penalties, everything, strong on the puck. He is a guy that needs to be able to do that. We had him kind of looking in as a second line center here for this year. Right now he’s playing on our top line. So he can handle that.”
Joe Micheletti, on the MSG Post game show that “game after game” Hagelin has been the Rangers best player,”It just seems like he never gets tired. He is non-stop and he makes things happen whether he has the puck or not.”
Micheletti says that what makes those two work well together is that Stepan is able to put the puck in a place where Hagelin can make something happen with his legs.
Adam Rotter: Stepan doesn’t have the points that Hagelin and Nash have had on that line, but his game has been rock solid at both ends of the ice. His faceoffs, besides a big struggle in the first period against the Islanders, have improved dramatically and he is around 50%.