Rangers Made Mistake With Stepan Trade
By Patrick Hoffman
When it comes to professional sports, there are a ton of trades that are made that simply do not work out.
Sometimes the trade does not work out because the players end up being busts in their new cities. Other times, the trade does not work out because the team ends up regretting it later.
This should be the case for the New York Rangers. Prior to the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Blueshirts went ahead and traded forward Derek Stepan and back-up 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 lost some offense. From the 2010-11 through the 2016-17 season, Stepan put up more than respectable point totals of 45, 51, 44, 57, 55, 53, and 55 in his Blueshirt career.
In looking at those numbers, Stepan averaged about 51 points a season and was perhaps the Rangers most consistent forward. If you look at the Rangers' current team, Mats Zuccarello leads the club with 38 points on 8 goals and 30 assists (As of february 7, 2018), which is pretty dreadful.
When he was a Ranger, Stepan made the offense better. He is a player that can set-up teammates, get pucks to the net, contribute on the power play and score big goals.
Secondly, Stepan was a great leader for the Blueshirts. While I do not doubt that team captain Ryan McDonagh is a good one, Stepan was someone who was not afraid to voice his opinion and was someone who kept the room relaxed.
Right now, the Rangers are definitely gripping their sticks. Sure, they are still very much in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but their play of late has been worrisome.
Stepan is also a player that probably would not put up with the way the team is playing right now. When he was a Ranger, he was used to winning, making the playoffs, and having a legitimate chance to win the Cup.
While he certainly has not had any of that in Arizona, he is someone that knows how to do all of those things. The Rangers could use someone like that right now.
Lastly, Derek 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.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.