Trade: Stepan, Raanta for Coyotes 1st Round Pick (7th overall)
It was no secret that theses two Ranger players were on the market. Coupled with aging expensive contracts and back to back underwhelming playoff performances – it was time for change in the big city.
Derek Stepan has been with the New York Rangers his entire career. He has played an important role – servicing as the first line center for the majority of the past few seasons. Carrying his team far into the playoffs, but for some reason could never win them a Stanley Cup. 20 goals and 50 points with playoff experience is what you get from this guy.
On the other hand, it seems a bit odd that star back up goaltender Antti Raanta would be packaged in this deal. His last season with the Rangers, he put up some impressive numbers serving as the back up to the King – Henrik Lundqvist. Raanta has been fortunate to start his career with such defensively bolstered teams – Chicago and New York. He has proven his worth and will most likely get a shot at being the Coyotes staring goaltender this year. As they traded away their rock - Mike Smith.
Overall, this trade is fantastic. New York dumps a player who is on the back nine of his scoring career and a potential number one goalie (keyword potential) for the 7th overall selection. On the other hand, the Coyotes pick up a number one centre to lead the youth minded squad – and also holds a delicate trading chip in Raanta.
It will be interesting to see what unfolds moving forward. The guess would be that Raanta is flipped by the Coyotes and that New York intends to dangle the seventh overall selection for a change for a team to move up in the draft. Or better yet – do the Rangers move up in the draft…