A recent article by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun more closely examined a conversation between NHL hosts and analysts Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean. The topic of the conversation was Ottawa Senators center Derek Stepan and whether or not the team and the player are already looking to make a change.
Kypreos reported that a Stepan trade may already high on the Senators to-do list. The newly-acquired center came over to the franchise in a trade from the Arizona Coyotes but with only three points in nine games and with the Senators being even worse that many insiders expected they could be, the Sens might want to roll with young stars and prospects, moving out a veteran like Stepan in the process.
Kypreos believed this relationship just wasn’t working and with Stepan on an expiring contract, he could be trade bait. Garrioch also cited comments from MacLean when he noted:
Former NHL general manager Doug MacLean indicated the 30-year-old Stepan may want to be dealt because he’s not happy with his role under Smith and mentioned there may also be personal issues involved here because his family hasn’t joined him in Ottawa.
If both the player and the organization aren’t happy, one has to wonder how long this relationship will last. Clearly, losing as much as the Senators have isn’t helping, but when the Senators acquired Stepan, the thought inside the organization was that the team would be more competitive.
Will Anyone Want Stepan?
The problem the Senators could run into — if this rumor is true — is Stepan’s age, production and expensive contract.
Stepan isn’t terribly old at 30, but he’s making $6.5 million for the remainder of this season and hasn’t scored more than 35 points since the 2017-18 campaign. In today’s NHL landscape, that’s not exactly an attractive contract to want to take on.
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