Key Stat: Stephenson was a minus-13 in 64 games this season after boasting a plus-13 rating in the previous season.
The Good: In his sophomore campaign, Stephenson was able to maintain his spot on the NHL roster and serve the Capitals in utility roles. Not only was he able to kill off penalties, but he was also able to win draws and bring speed to the lineup. He racked up five goals and 11 points, including one shorthanded goal, this season. He was also able to earn the trust of head coach Todd Reirden and got to play in six of the Caps’ seven playoff games against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Bad: Stephenson’s second year was not the greatest showing, as he was unable to maintain a permanent spot in the lineup or show a lot of chemistry on the fourth line. His two-way play appeared to suffer at even strength, and he seemed to be missing a step and unable to really display consistency in his overall game.
The Discussion: Though Stephenson’s stats reflected struggles with his overall game, he was able to turn things around toward the end of the season and still showed that he was able to kill off penalties, win face-offs and bring pressure and speed whenever he was on the ice. However, he did need to display stronger chemistry and consistency, as well as the same vigor he played with in his rookie campaign.
As an RFA this offseason, what kind of deal will Stephenson get, and will it push him to improve his overall game? Can he manage to lock down a permanent spot on the fourth line, especially competing with players like Travis Boyd and Nathan Walker?If Devante Smith-Pelly doesn’t return, how will his role with the Caps change? What will it take for you to give him a ‘10’ next season?
Other Stephenson Season Reviews: RMNB
The Vote: Rate Stephenson below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season – if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.