Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And leading up to the expansion draft, there was plenty of smoke around Derek Stepan and the Rangers’ desire to move on from their alternate captain. Now that the trade freeze has been lifted, Jeff Gorton and John Chayka have struck a deal that will send New York’s first line center to the desert:
For all the hype surrounding what the Rangers could have gotten in exchange for Stepan, this is a curious move. Anthony DeAngelo is exactly what New York is looking for as they look to revamp their defense corps. At 21 years old, the right-handed shooting defenseman has put up impressive offensive numbers throughout his hockey career. As a point per game defenseman in the OHL, DeAngelo was the 19th Overall Pick in the 2014 Draft, but was quickly shipped out by Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last season, DeAngelo posted 14 points in 39 games on a dreadful Coyotes team, as well as 16 points in 25 games in the AHL.
The 7th Overall pick is another valuable asset that could help the team in the present and in the future, but it’s still a head scratching move. For a win-now team like New York, giving up the best player in deal doesn’t seem like an ideal strategy. But with Stepan’s looming No-Movement Clause kicking in on July 1st, Jeff Gorton felt he had to make a move sooner rather than later.
We’ll bring more details as they become available. Thoughts?