According to NHL.com, New York Rangers center Derek Stepan will be out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks due to broken ribs. Stepan was injured when Matt Belesky delivered a late hit on the Ranger in his defensive zone on Friday in a game against the Boston Bruins. Belesky was not assessed a penalty for the hit, although Dylan McIlrath fought the Bruin forward immediately after the collision. He did not receive any supplementary discipline following the game.
Derek Stepan (broken ribs) out four to six weeks, per Rangers. AV says, for now, no call-ups expected.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) November 30, 2015
The Rangers are in the midst of a three game losing streak which has seen them struggle to produce sustained offense. Stepan has 12 points (6 G, 6A) in 23 games for the Blueshirts, which places him at sixth overall on the team. He has seen significant ice time alongside Chris Kreider and one of either Kevin Hayes or Jesper Fast, and his absence will force some lineup changes as we saw on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The injury will afford Emerson Etem a chance to play for a significant stretch, which the young winger is in desperate need of. The Rangers are in need of a rallying point, a spark to kick-start the team from their idling play over the past few weeks. With Stepan out, offensive production is likely to suffer but that is something that the team cannot afford.
UPDATE: The Rangers have recalled forward Jayson Megna from the Hartford Wolf Pack.
*Stick tap to Henbrick Wallqvist for posting this news in the comments.*
Megna has 12 points (5 G, 7 A) and 68 shots in 21 games for Hartford this season. Megna had a standout preseason with the Rangers and, along with Brian Gibbons, competed for a roster spot until the final days before the regular season started.