Derek Stepan C NYR 19 Days

As expected, Stepan (leg) will make his season debut Saturday against the Maple Leafs.

Stepan missed the Rangers' first 12 games with a fractured fibula, but after practicing throughout the week, he's finally ready to resume his duties in the team's top six. The Rangers will likely wait until Saturday morning before officially activating him, but fantasy owners should beginning preparing a spot to slide the center into their lineups. Stepan is expected to skate next to Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello in Saturday's contest.

Derek Stepan C NYR 20 Days

Stepan (fractured fibula) appears set to return to the Rangers lineup Saturday against the Maple Leafs, Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record reports.

With center Chris Mueller returning to AHL Hartford on Thursday, the Rangers already have opened a spot for Stepan's return to the active roster, suggesting he'll be activated from long-term injured reserve in advance of Saturday's game. The team will likely wait for Stepan to complete Friday's full-contact practice before doing so, but barring any unforeseen setbacks, the Rangers should have their No. 1 center back in commission. He required about six weeks to recover from the fracture suffered late in training camp, missing the team's first 12 games of the season as a result.

Derek Stepan C NYR 22 Days

Stepan (leg) practiced fully Wednesday but is not expected to play later in the evening against the Red Wings, Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record reports.

Stepan has been on the ice with the Rangers for each of the last three days, but because he's working his way back from a long-term injury, he'll still need a little more time to prepare for a return to game action. With the top-line center seemingly enduring no setbacks while practicing thus far, he could be in line to make his season debut either game of the Rangers' weekend back-to-back set.

Derek Stepan C NYR 22 Days

According to head coach Alain Vigneault, the chances of Stepan (leg) playing Wednesday are "very, very slim."

Stepan has been cleared for contact, but Vigneault wants him to get in a full practice session before returning, so it's almost certain he will not be activated from injured reserve Wednesday. The Rangers have a full practice scheduled for Friday, so Stepan could return the following day against the Maple Leafs if he is able to avoid a setback.

Derek Stepan C NYR 24 Days

Stepan (leg) will not play Monday against the Blues, Steve Zipay of Newsday reports.

Stepan has been officially cleared for contact, so his return to the lineup should be coming soon, but it won't be Monday night. Wednesday's game against the Red Wings seems like a good bet for when Stepan will suit up for the first time this season.

Derek Stepan C NYR 24 Days

Stepan (leg) was a full participant in Monday's morning skate, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reports.

Head coach Alain Vigneault said last week that Stepan could return to action Monday against the Blues, so it looks like there's a good chance he'll be in the lineup. The center racked up 17 goals and 40 assists in 82 games last season, but hasn't played yet this year after breaking his leg in the preseason.

Derek Stepan C NYR 27 Days

Coach Alain Vigneault suggested that Stepan (leg) could return to the lineup as soon as Monday's game against the Blues, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reports.

Given that Stepan was limited to non-contact work at Friday's practice and isn't expected to engage in full duty for at least a few more days, it seems highly unlikely that he'll return Monday when eligible to come off long-term injured reserve. More realistically, Stepan will probably need most of the upcoming week to get back up to full speed and to the point that he's comfortable taking contact, making the Rangers' Nov. 8 game against the Maple Leafs a likelier target for his return.

Derek Stepan C NYR 1 Month

Stepan (leg) has begun skating on his own, Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record reports.

It's a great sign that Stepan has returned to the ice, but he's still expected to be sidelined for at least another week while his leg fully recovers. The center racked up 17 goals and 40 assists while playing all 82 games for the Rangers last season, and should be a huge part of the team's game plan upon his return.

Derek Stepan C NYR 1 Month

Stepan (leg) has yet to resume skating, and it remains to be seen when he will be able to do so, Andrew Gross of The Record reports.

Stepan is making good progress in his recovery from a broken leg, but he still has a few steps to go in the process, and will likely be sidelined at least a couple more weeks.

Derek Stepan C NYR 1 Month

Stepan (fractured fibula) appears to be progressing as expected with his recovery, Steve Zipay of Newsday reports.

Stepan has started swimming in an attempt to rehab the leg, but it'll still likely be at least another week before he steps back onto the ice to skate. He's not eligible to return to the game action until at least Nov. 3.