7:24AM: KalPa has announced that Derek Stepan is returning to North America.
In their release they say, “Stepan is confident that the NHL will start in the coming weeks and he wanted to return to North America in peace to prepare for the NHL season.”
The Rangers currently have no players playing in Europe. Henrik Lundqvist is still in Sweden though.
In 12 games Stepan had two goals and two assists, had 39 shots and averaged 19:17 per game.
THIS SECTION is all about Stepan’s time in Finland.
Through nine games, Derek Stepan has 2 goals, 1 assist, is a plus five, has a shootout winner, had 14 shots on goal and is averaging 21:33 per game.
Stepan said in an interview with the KalPa website that Finland was the place that he felt suited his game the best, “I didn’t really even think about it any other countries. I thought that the SM-Liiga, with their style of play would be the European country most similar to that of North America, and therefore would suit me best.”
When asked about his game, Stepan said that his strengths are in his skating and knowing how to be creative with the puck. He said that he can usually anticipate much of what is going to happen on the ice and that works to his advantage. Stepan said that he knows he can get stronger to deal with bigger and more veteran players, but overall he just wants to be better at everything and turn himself into more of a complete player.
THIS SECTION is all about Stepan playing for KalPa including pictures and video.
At 7:48 of the first period today, Derek Stepan opened the scoring in the 4-2 KalPa win.
Stepan received a pass just inside the blue line and had a step on his defender. Stepan was heading towards the net when the defender swung his stick and took out his feet. As Stepan was going down, he fired a shot through the goalies five-hole for the goal. Stepan popped up immediately and had a big smile on his face as he pointed to his teammate who gave him the pass.
CLICK HERE to see the goal.
Stepan had three shots today in 17:22
Visit THIS SECTION for all info on Stepan playing in Finland.
Stepan’s goal comes at 2:35
Derek Stepan picked up the secondary assist today for KalPa on the game tying goal in the third period in the team’s 4-3 win over TPS and Lauri Korpikoski.
Stepan also scored the shootout winner for KalPa with a wrist shot.
Stepan played 23:29 and was a plus two. He had three shots on goal.
Stepan is wearing 22 for KalPaa
In his first game in Finland, Derek Stepan had three shots and played about 24:30 in KalPa’s 2-1 win over the Pelicans.
Of Stepan’s three shots, one was at the faceoff circle, one was just above the faceoff circle and the other was near the front of the net.
Last season, Stepan played over 23 minutes three times (all in the playoffs) and once being 37:50 in the three OT game.
In his rookie season, Stepan twice played over 23 minutes in the playoff series against Washington and once in the regular season.
In his rookie season Stepan averaged 16:26 and last season he averaged close to 19 minutes a game.
Yesterday Derek Stepan arrived in Finland and took part in his first practice for KarPa.
He spoke with the Finnish press and said that he hoped to play tonight when KarPa plays the Pelicans.
Stepan said that the process of moving to play in Finland worked fast and once he found out that the team was interested in him, he became interested because of the quality of play in the league.
Stepan said that with the exception of a connection he once made in Helsinki, yesterday was the first time he was ever in Finland. He added that it’s a new and unfamiliar scene to him but one he is trying to make the best of,”I didn’t know anything or any players, I am trying to fit in as fast as I can and help out any way I can.”
10:42AM: According to Matias Strozyck, Stepan will start on the top line for KalPa
Yesterday Derek Stepan announced that he was heading to Finland to play for KalPa during the lockout.
The contract is for the entire season but does have an “out-clause” if the NHL lockout is solved.
Kalpa CEO Kimmo Kapanen, brother of former NHLer Sammi Kapanen said that the chance to add Stepan was too much to pass up.
Stepan will wear #22 for KalPa. Stepan will play in his first game tomorrow when KalPa takes on the Pelicans.