Courtesy of New York Rangers (New York, July 19, 2014) – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the team has agreed to terms with free agent forward Lee Stempniak.
Stempniak, 31, skated in 73 games with the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins this past season, registering 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points, along with 32 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in average ice time (18:27), shorthanded goals (two), and shorthanded points (five). Stempniak tallied a point in nine of the first 10 games of the season from October 3 at Washington to October 24 at Dallas (four goals, five assists over the span). He skated in his 600th career NHL game on January 7 at Phoenix, and tied a single-game career-high with three assists on January 28 vs. Chicago. Stempniak made his Penguins debut on March 6 at San Jose, and recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists), along with a plus-five rating, in 21 regular season games with Pittsburgh.
In the 2014 Playoffs, the 5-11, 196-pounder established playoff career-highs in games played (13), goals (two), points (three), shots on goal (22), and hits (19). Stempniak tied for fifth on Pittsburgh in goals and tied for seventh in hits. He registered his first career NHL playoff goal in Game 3 of the Metropolitan Division Semifinals at Columbus on April 21.
Stempniak has skated in 637 career NHL games with St. Louis, Toronto, Phoenix, Calgary, and Pittsburgh, registering 150 goals and 191 assists for 341 points, along with 233 penalty minutes. He has tallied at least 14 goals in six of his nine NHL seasons, and has reached the 40-point plateau three times in his career. Stempniak established career-highs in games played (82), points (52), game-winning goals (four), power play assists (11), and power play points (19) during the 2006-07 season with St. Louis. He has reached the playoffs three times in his career, and has tallied two goals and three assists for five points in 24 career NHL playoff games.
Internationally, the West Seneca, New York native has represented Team USA at numerous tournaments. Stempniak tied for fifth on Team USA with two goals at the 2009 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland. He also tied for third among all skaters in goals (six) and tied for 10th among all skaters in points (10) at the 2007 IIHF World Championship in Moscow, Russia. Stempniak led the Americans in goals and points, tied for second on the team in assists (four), and tied for fourth on the team in plus/minus rating (plus-two) in the tournament.
Stempniak was originally selected by St. Louis in the fifth round, 148th overall, of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.