With the New York Rangers rebuilding, I think they are really going to miss having someone like Derek Stepan to help out.
Prior to the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Blueshirts went ahead and traded forward Derek Stepan and backup goaltender Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick.
While the draft selection of Lias Andersson was a good one, the giving up of Stepan was not. There are several reasons why I believe that the team made a mistake in trading Stepan.
For starters, the team could use his offense. From the 2010-11 through the 2017-18 season, Stepan put up more than respectable point totals of 45, 51, 44, 57, 55, 53, 55, and 56 points in his career.
In looking at those numbers, Stepan has averaged 52 points a season and when he was a Blueshirt, he was easily their most consistent forward. When he was a Ranger, Stepan made the offense better. He is a player that can set-up teammates, get pucks to the net, contributes on the power play, and score big goals.
Secondly, Stepan was a great leader for the Blueshirts. In fact, if he was still on the club, he would have my vote in being the team’s next captain. Stepan was someone who was not afraid to voice his opinion and was someone who kept the room relaxed.
Right now, the Rangers have a new coach, a new approach, and uncertainty as to how they will play this season. Considering the team is trying to get better for the future, this is very understandable.
With that said, having someone like Stepan could have made a difference. The young guys would be able to see how hard he works, hear about what it was like to make the postseason and have a legitimate shot at winning the Cup for a number of years, and be a guy they could rely on to have their backs.
When he was with the Blueshirts, Stepan was mister reliable for the Blueshirts. He never missed a lot of games, was usually able to produce offensively, could play in all situations, and was someone that was a Ranger through and through.
Again, I like the fact that the Rangers got Lias Andersson with the seventh overall pick. I just don’t like the fact that the team had to move Stepan to get it and think that the team made a mistake in doing so.
Photo: LA Times