Arizona Coyotes trade of center Derek Stepan nets positive reviews

Dec 27, 2020, 10:30 AM

Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique, left, checks Arizona Coyotes center Derek Stepan, right, into t...

Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique, left, checks Arizona Coyotes center Derek Stepan, right, into the air during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

The Arizona Coyotes decision to trade veteran center Derek Stepan to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday evoked mostly positive reviews from a cadre of hockey writers.

Stepan was traded to the Senators in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, after scoring 10 goals and 18 assists in 70 games last season.

Longtime Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch argued that adding a veteran like Stepan was a safe decision that is a win-win for both clubs.

“Stepan’s role under Arizona coach Rick Tocchet has slipped over the course of the last three seasons. This move will give Stepan a fresh start and you can expect Smith to lean on his veteran players,” Garrioch said.

“The Coyotes needed the cap relief and this is a low risk move for the Senators.”

The trade also creates much-needed salary cap relief for the Coyotes, which could give GM Bill Armstrong greater flexibility to make trades and other moves as needed.

According to CapFriendly, Stepan’s trade cleared more than $3 million in salary cap space for the Coyotes.

Others, like Sean McIndoe and Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic, argued that the Coyotes got quite the deal by shedding Stepan’s $6.5 million salary cap hit while gaining a high-round draft pick in the process.

We’ll see what sort of ramifications the Stepan deal has once the NHL kicks off its shortened, 56-game regular season in January.

For now, Coyotes fans and front office staff can turn their attention to the team’s season opener against the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 14 at Gila River Arena.

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