2003-04: Steffes played for Team Michigan at the USA Hockey Select 16 Festival before moving across the Detroit River and toward Toronto to play for the Stratford Cullitons of the Midwestern Jr. B Hockey League. The 16-year-old Steffes scored 5 goals and 13 assists in 28 games on the Midwest League’s top team. Steffes scored 4 goals in 13 games to help Stratford to the Cherrey Cup, the Midwest League championship. He also scored 2 goals in 8 games to help the Cullitons with the Sutherland Cup, the Ontario Jr. B championship.
2004-05: Steffes played for Team Michigan at the Select 17 Festival and then played for Team USA at the U18 Junior World Cup in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The Michigan native scored two goals to help Team USA to a fourth place finish out of eight teams. The Cedar Rapids Roughriders subsequently drafted Steffes in the USHL Futures Draft later in August. Steffes returned to Stratford for a second season, but after 6 goals and 2 assists in 6 games the Roughriders signed him to a contract in late September. In 42 regular season games for the Roughriders, Steffes scored 1 goal and 9 assists while playing a physical checking game. He also scored 3 goals in 10 games to help the Roughriders to the Clark Cup.
2005-06: Steffes returned to the Roughriders and picked up his scoring down the stretch for Cedar Rapids, finishing the season with 11 goals and 11 assists in 56 games. He finished second in Cedar Rapids playoff scoring with 6 goals and 1 assist in 8 games. Along the way in 2005-06, Steffes played for Team USA at the Viking Cup and scored 2 goals and 3 assists in 5 games, which proved vital in building his confidence offensively. Steffes also committed to Miami University to begin playing for the Redhawks in 2006-07.
Steffes’ offensive numbers for much of his two seasons in the USHL belie his offensive talent. He has good offensive awareness, stickhandling, and passing skills in order to make plays. Steffes rarely holds onto the puck longer than he really needs to. He has a strong shot and can score goals when put in offensive situations, as evidence by his exploits in the 2006 Clark Cup Playoffs. His strong skating stride makes him look makes him look like a professional player already.
However, the key to Steffes’ future is his defensive game. He has good speed and good size at 6’1, 192 pounds, and he uses both to lay out a lot of hits along the boards. He finishes his checks and pursues the puck with gusto, but also with intelligence.
Steffes is just an all-around hockey player that can thrive in most any role he is put into.
Given how Steffes can thrive in both offensive and defensive roles at such a young age, he could become a solid fourth line NHL who could move up to the third line if needed and who also receives a regular shift on the penalty kill. Steffes already has a professional skating stride and plays a game of substance over flash.