Derek Stepan announces retirement after 13 NHL seasons
Centre played in 890 regular-season games and 120 playoff games.
Feature photo: Getty Images
TORONTO (Oct. 3, 2023) – Forward Derek Stepan has officially announced his retirement from the National Hockey League today following 13 NHL seasons and 890 regular-season games.
Born in Hastings, Minnesota, Stepan was drafted 51st overall in the 2008 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers. After playing seven seasons with the Rangers, he played three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, one season with the Ottawa Senators and his final two seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Prior to reaching the NHL, Stepan played two years at the University of Wisconsin where he tied for the NCAA lead with 42 assists and placed second in the country with 54 points in his sophomore season. He made the jump straight to the NHL in 2010-11, when he played in all 82 regular-season games and scored 45 points as a rookie with the Rangers. Stepan scored a hat trick in his NHL debut – becoming the fourth player to accomplish the feat – versus the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 9, 2010. The following season, he once again played in all 82 regular-season games before he helped the Rangers’ postseason run reach the 2012 Eastern Conference Final. In the owners’ lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Stepan led the team in assists (26) and points (44) in 48 games, while he set a career-high in average time on ice (20:55) and finished ninth in Frank J. Selke Trophy voting.
The 2013-14 season was a successful one in many ways for Stepan. He tallied 15 points in 24 playoff games to help lead the Rangers all the way to the Stanley Cup Final after setting a career-high in points (57) during the regular season. In 2014-15, Stepan recorded 16 goals and 55 points in the regular season; while in the playoffs, he scored the overtime game-winner in Game 7 of the club’s second-round series versus the Washington Capitals to send the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Final. In 2015-16, Stepan set a career-high in goals (22), while in 2016-17 – his final season in New York – he led the Rangers with 209 shots and placed third on the team in points (55). During his time in New York, Stepan helped the Rangers reach the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons, he scored 128 goals and 232 assists for 360 points in 515 games played, he made the 2011 NHL All-Star Game as a rookie, and he served as the alternate captain for three seasons (2014-15 to 2016-17).
The 5-foot-11, 196-pound centre was traded in June 2017 to the Arizona Coyotes. Stepan served as an alternate captain for all three of his seasons in the desert. In 2017-18, he finished second in team scoring (with 56 points) and shared the team lead in assists (42), while he helped the Coyotes return to the postseason in 2019-20. Stepan was traded to the Ottawa Senators in December 2020. After his season in Ottawa was abbreviated due to injury, he signed as a free agent with the Carolina Hurricanes in July 2021. As a member of the Hurricanes, Stepan scored his 500th NHL point in his 800th career game March 12, 2022, and he helped the club reach the playoffs in both seasons.
As a widely respected player who was valued for his leadership and contributions on both sides of the puck, Stepan played in the playoffs in 10 of his 13 NHL seasons. He recorded more than 50 points in six different seasons, and on five different occasions he played in every regular-season game for his team. For his career, Stepan averaged 17:05 of time on ice per game played, while he scored 32 game-winning goals, 13 shorthanded goals and 33 power-play goals. In his 120 career playoff games played, he recorded 20 goals, 55 points and helped his team reached the Conference Finals twice and the Stanley Cup Final once.
Internationally, Stepan led the United States to a gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he captained the team and scored 14 points. He also represented his country at the World Championship (2011), Olympics (2014) and World Cup of Hockey (2016).
Statement from Derek Stepan:
“After 13 years in the NHL I’ve decided to retire. I want to thank my family and friends for always supporting me and allowing me to live my dreams. I want to thank the four organizations I had the privilege of playing for, and to my teammates for allowing me to be part of their family. Finally, I want to thank the fans, it was an honor to play in front of you. I’m forever grateful for this game and I look forward to the next chapter.”