Rink and Run blog: Wisconsin's Stepan to N.Y. Rangers
The Wisconsin program, riding high in 2010 as Division I runnerup, has taken a few departure hits since the end of the season, including scoring leader Derek Stepan, a sophomore center from Hastings, Minn., leaving Wednesday for the NHL's New York Rangers. The captain of the USA gold medal junior team is the third Wisconsin underclassmen to leave in recent weeks.
A Wednesday Wisconsin State Journal story from Andy Baggot is here. And Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald has been keeping a list of early departures in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and that is here.
Some highlights from the Wisconsin State Journal story are below:
In addition to the departure of seven seniors and two assistant coaches — Mark Osiecki and Kevin Patrick became head coaches at Ohio State and Muskegon (Mich.) of the U.S. Hockey League, respectively — it’s possible a fourth underclassmen could leave before the summer is over.
Defenseman Ryan McDonagh could return for his senior season and serve as captain, or he could sign with the Rangers. Eaves said last month that McDonagh will likely wait until after their prospects camp in early July before making a decision.
The departure of Stepan, 19, means Wisconsin has lost 11 players from its 2009-10 roster, including 10 since April 10 when it lost to Boston College in the NCAA title game. Sophomore center Matt Thurber was dismissed from the team in February after he violated the school’s student-athlete discipline policy. He subsequently transferred to Northern Michigan.