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The rumors of Derek Stepan being on the trading block have dominated the Rangers’ off-season thus far. On Friday, the day of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, those rumors came to fruition as Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta were traded to the Arizona Coyotes for the 7th overall pick in the the draft and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.
OFFICIAL: #NYR acquired d-man Anthony DeAngelo and the 7th pick in the 2017 Draft from Arizona in exchange for Derek Stepan & Antti Raanta.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) June 23, 2017
There’s a lot to process with this trade what with two fan and locker room favorites in Stepan and Raanta leaving the team.
First and foremost, assuming the Rangers don’t trade the 7th overall draft pick, they will be picking the highest they have since 2004 when they drafted Al Montoya 6th overall. Also, they now have two draft picks (the other being 21st overall) in the first round, which is pretty significant since they haven’t drafted in the first round at all since 2012.
Second, Anthony DeAngelo is a right-handed defenseman who was originally drafted 19th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning. In his 39 game rookie campaign with the Arizona Coyotes, he had 5 goals and 9 assists. He possesses the ability to produce offense on the back end through his superior vision and passing. He will be a boon to the Rangers powerplay.
Finally, losing Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta gives the Rangers $20 million in cap space right now with another $3 million becoming available if Kevin Klein retires. In addition, the loss of Stepan puts more holes in the Rangers’ center depth as this latest development compounds on the loss of Oscar Lindberg to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft. The Rangers will look to utilize their newfound cap space to fill the holes at center, shore up their defense, and find a suitable backup goaltender for the upcoming 2017-2018 season.