The Rangers roster began to take full shape on Sunday and for the first time since training camp opened that roster included Derek Stepan.

The presumptive first-line center took part in a practice that lasted more than an hour days after signing his two-year $6.15 million deal. He centered a line with Brad Richards on the left — yes that Brad Richards who won a Conn Smythe trophy as a center — and Ryan Callahan on the right — yes that Ryan Callahan who still is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery but had been cleared for contact on Thursday.

“It’s been awhile to be back in the swing of things was something I was very happy with” said Stepan whose Rangers will open the season Thursday against the Coyotes in Phoenix part of a season-opening nine-game road trip. “My biggest objective is just to get back and be ready for Thursday.”

Stepan returned to a team that is quite different than it was during the latter part of the preseason which finished on Friday night in Las Vegas. For one Richards is playing on the wing for the first time in a long time. Coming off the worst season of his career when he almost had his contract bought out by the team Richards is willing to do anything to gain some traction early.

“Hopefully we can get something going” Richards said. “If it works it means we’re staying and if we’re staying it means it’s working. And vise versa.”

Callahan ruled himself out for Game 1 as he still has to wait and see how his shoulder reacts to contact a timetable that new coach Alain Vigneault said could be between seven and 14 days. Taking that wing spot on the top line will be Rick Nash who sat out Sunday’s practice to rest after taking a shot in the foot during the team’s 4-1 loss to the Kings in Vegas.

So Vigneault has a bit of a stockpile of centers and the result was Richards on the wing — for now.

“With Derek coming back at the end of the day that gives us five NHL centermen” said Vigneault who also has Derick Brassard Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore up the middle. “That’s probably something moving forward here that we’re going to use one of those guys on the wing. I think Brad is comfortable at any position. He’s an experienced player a player that just wants to come in and contribute.”