Ottawa Senators centre Derek Stepan is injured with an upper-body injury. He left Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens in the first period and didn’t return.
Roster update: The #Sens have made the following roster moves:
D Erik Brannstrom and C Matthew Peca have been recalled from the team’s taxi squad.
C Logan Brown has been recalled from @BellevilleSens and re-assigned to the taxi squad.
C Derek Stepan has been placed on IR.
— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) February 25, 2021
Derek Stepan Injured
In the first period of Tuesday’s game, Stepan was going for the puck against Jesperi Kotkaniemi of the Canadiens. Stepan reached for the puck in a shooting stance and immediately reached for his left shoulder. There was no hit on him immediately before he reached for his shoulder.
In late December, Ottawa traded for Stepan from the Arizona Coyotes for a second-round pick in 2021. He is a middle-six centre for Ottawa, and in 19 games he has scored one goal, four assists for five points. If this season was 82 games, he would be on pace to score 21 points, which would be the worst statistical season of his career. It is a difficult season personally for Stepan. His family and newborn child are in the United States while he is in Canada. The logistics of the quarantine rules in Canada and the Senators’ schedule make it unrealistic for his family to come to Ottawa.
Stepan was drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft by the New York Rangers. The 30-year-old has played in 758 games spit between the Rangers, Coyotes and Senators. He has 168 goals, 316 assists, for 484 points.
What this Means for the Future
If the injury is minor, this won’t change much for Ottawa. They’ll move Chris Tierney into Stepan’s spot centring Tim Stützle and Drake Batherson. Artem Anisimov will return to the lineup as the fourth-line centre. Both Tierney and Anisimov are capable of moving into those roles, so it shouldn’t impact the team’s play.
If this is long-term, it opens up an opportunity for Ottawa to insert Logan Brown into the line-up. The 2016 11th overall pick is a skilled centre but hasn’t been able to crack the team. This will be the perfect opportunity to give Brown a long look and assess if he’s ready for the NHL. If he works out that will be great for Ottawa. If not, they have some certainty as to what they have in Brown and can move up Chris Tierney and Artem Anisimov in the centre depth chart.
A long-term injury for Stepan could mean he would have an opportunity to go back into the United States and visit his family.