Derek Stepan is the next Arizona Coyotes player we are highlighting in our Journey to the Desert series. Let’s jump right in!
Derek Stepan was drafted in 2008 in the second round by the New York Rangers, a team he played 7 years and 515 games with before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes in June of 2017.
Stepan was traded to Arizona along with goalie Antti Raanta for the Coyotes 7th overall pick in 2017 and Anthony DeAngelo. The move was though of a salary camp dump for New York, and the possibility to bring in some veteran leadership in Arizona.
I think the move really worked out for John Chayka and the Arizona Coyotes. New York drafted Lias Andersson with the 7th pick, and he has not played a full season in the NHL. Stepan on the other hand has played in 159 games so far for the Coyotes and has registered 92 points before the game against Nashville last night.
Stepan plays in all types of situations for the ‘Yotes, from the power play to the penalty kill to just 5 on 5 hockey. Stepan is a guy you need on the ice no matter the situation, if the Coyotes are winning they need him out to defend a lead, and if they are losing they need him out to help score a goal.
Stepan is 29 years old, and he does have some good years of hockey still to go, but you need to understand that his role will start to change from top center to veteran center ready to pass the ropes to younger guys like Christian Dvorak and Nick Schmaltz.
Stepan has scored big goals in the playoffs with the New York Rangers, and even is apart of the experienced group of leaders in Arizona.
There is no bigger stage than a game 7 OT in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and Stepan took control of it. Hopefully he can start scoring playoff goals for the Coyotes this season.