Ottawa Senators: Grading the seemingly confusing Derek Stepan trade

Derek Stepan #21 of the Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Derek Stepan #21 of the Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Derek Stepan (21)
Derek Stepan #21 of the Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

There are multiple facets to the Derek Stepan to Ottawa Senators trade.

The Ottawa Senators made quite the splash on Saturday when they sent a Second Round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft to the Arizona Coyotes for veteran forward Derek Stepan.

It was a transaction that left a lot confused, particularly Senators fans, but I detailed here how it could be a smart move given that Stepan will be an ideal role model for the franchise’s plethora of young guns.

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We have also looked at it from the perspective of the Arizona Coyotes, who offloaded an expiring contract of an aging forward for a Second Round selection, which is an absolute home run for a franchise who have a depleted assets pool.

However, while many will declare the Coyotes as the clear winners in this deal, we are going to look at the transaction closely from all sides, before attempting to give it a final grade.

Let’s delve right in…

What this means for Stepan and the Sens

Firstly, this was a trade somewhat out of left field given that the Ottawa Senators are in full-on rebuild mode right now and are busily building for the future.

Therefore, trading a valuable 2021 Second Round pick for a 30-year-old forward who has been on the decline offensively was a bit confusing, especially when you consider that Derek Stepan has one-year left on his current deal with a $6.5 million cap hit.

However, when you actually drill down into the details and get right down in the weeds, this trade does make some sense for the Senators.

The main aspect of this deal that matters from an Ottawa Senators perspective is the fact that Stepan should be a perfect fit in the locker room with this young core.

Currently building for the future with a talent-laden core that features Brady Tkachuk, Colin White, Thomas Chabot, Logan Brown, Erik Brannstrom and now Tim Stuetzle, Stepan can come in and be a mentor and a real role model for that young crew.

He can take the likes of Tkachuk, Brown and Stuetzle under his wing and guide them through the trials and tribulations of a gruelling NHL season, which will be hugely beneficial for Stuetzle in particular given that he is just about to embark on his rookie year in the NHL.

Stepan has experienced pretty much everything throughout his 10-year NHL career, going to the Stanley Cup Final and a couple of Eastern Conference Finals with the New York Rangers, while he also had to deal with the pressure of being an Alternate Captain under the bright lights of Broadway.

Derek Stepan (21)
Derek Stepan #21 of the Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

So, therefore, Stepan can be on hand to impart wisdom and knowledge on to his young colleagues from a career that has featured 479 points (167 G, 312 A) in 739 career NHL regular season games, while the right shot will be an important glue guy in what is a very young locker room.

After all, when things go wrong, and they will for a youthful and inexperienced rebuilding team, you need a level head to help stop things from imploding and Derek Stepan will be that for the Ottawa Senators.

Plus, while his production has regressed somewhat over the last two seasons, he did record five straight years of 50 plus points, including 56 (14 G, 42 A) as recently as 2017-18, while the center can log big minutes and play in all situations including on the power play and on the penalty kill.

And, for Stepan, this is a chance for the forward to breathe new life into his career, potentially put up biggish numbers and boost both his stock and his market value before becoming a UFA in 2021.

Overall, expect Derek Stepan to play a key role and be a vital glue guy for the Ottawa Senators in 2020-21, although the price they had to pay will still leave a lot of people somewhat baffled, which leads us nicely to…