Stephan caught the attention of the NHL scouts during the U18 WJC in Finland where he’s consistent strong performance contributed heavily to the surprising silver medal. Of the 220 shots he faced he turned away 204, a save percentage of almost 93 percent. He was voted best goalie of the tournament and that award has been given to famous names in the past like Czechs Dominik Hasek and Roman Turek.
To avoid ‘losing’ a year he let himself be loaned out from his team EHC Kloten to EHC Chur at the beginning of the 2001-02 season. With EHC Kloten he would be a certain #2 behind Reto Pavoni or would even play in the juniors again. At EHC Chur he’s the backup behind Nando Wieser and has a more chance of logging ice time than in Kloten. In Chur he succeeded Marco Bührer as the backup, who left to SC Bern. After the stellar performance at the U18 WJC, his relatively poor showing at the U20 WJC was a disappointment.
Stephan returned to EHC Kloten for the 2002-03 season as the club’s starter. He still did not prove to be the most consistent goalie, but his play was solid enough that he played every game for Kloten. His season was definitely an improvement over the previous year, but it was clear that there is more room for him to develop. In the playoffs for Kloten, he was far from spectacular. Also, he again had a disappointing U20 WJC showing, possibly due to fatigue.
2007-08: Stephan made his NHL debut against Chicago on October 13. He stopped 38 of 40 in an overtime loss (although he was less than two seconds away from a shutout). For Iowa (AHL), Stephan made good strides for just his second season in North America. He played in a career-high 60 games, winning 27 of them, and racked up six shutouts.
Strengths: Stephan employs a solid butterfly-style and pervades a sense of remarkable calmness -- which he seems to have even in the most hectic situations. He doesn’t make any unnecessary moves and has some impressive flowing, skillful movement. Stephan is also very tall and shooters find difficulty placing their shots on him. His reflexes are excellent as well.
Weaknesses: Stephan has some flaws in his technique that still need to be worked on. The most obvious of these is a tendency to allow a few too many goals through the five-hole. Stephan also needs to develop some consistency. After playing in Europe he may need time to adjust to a different brand of hockey in North America.