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Report: Coyotes have ‘serious interest’ in Rangers center Derek Stepan

New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) reacts after scoring the winning goal against the Washington Capitals in overtime of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in New York. The Rangers won 2-1. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The Arizona Coyotes have added strength down the middle in the draft and now they are looking to do it in the trade market as well, according to one report.

The 26-year-old Stepan signed a six-year, $39 million extension in the summer of 2015. Stepan has had at least 50 points in the last four seasons, notching up 17 goals and 38 assists last season for the New York Rangers.

Arizona traded their first-line center Martin Hanzal to the Minnesota Wild in February. Beyond Hanzal, the only two players to take at least 1,000 faceoffs for the team were Jordan Martinook and Christian Dvorak.

As Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan wrote in April, it’s a position the team needs to upgrade. While Dvorak progressed nicely in his rookie year, Brad Richardson missed most of the season with a leg injury and how good 2015’s No. 3 overall pick Dylan Strome can be is still an unknown.

Morgan speculated a few names that the Coyotes could possibly attempt to acquire, including Stepan, Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar.

A deal for Stepan could get complicated, however, as McKenzie noted earlier in the week.

 

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