Fantasy Impact: Coyotes Acquire Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta

Dobber

2017-06-23

 

The Arizona Coyotes acquired center Derek Stepan and goaltender Antti Raanta from the New York Rangers for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and a 2017 first-round pick.

 

The Coyotes get: Their No.1 center and a new No.1 goaltender. I think Coyotes' fans will find that Raanta is a better goaltender than Mike Smith – especially with new acquisition Nicklas Hjalmarsson helping out defensively. And now they have a No.1 center (ideally he's more of a No.2, but we'll see) in Stepan. With a healthy Max Domi and the arrival of wunderkind Clayton Keller, this will be a completely different Arizona team.

 

The Rangers get: A talented puck-moving defenseman with a lot of upside, but also with a chip on his shoulder. The first-round pick is seventh overall, which is a very high pick and it should allow the Rangers to easily replace Stepan with a future scoring-line center (they would just have to wait two or three years for said centerman to become NHL-ready). They also shed Stepan's $6.5 million cap hit, which is huge – don't underrate that aspect of this deal. It's huge.

 

Fantasy Players Impacted: While it may seem at first blush that Stepan will suffer a downgrade in linemates, if you look closer you will see that this is going to turn out to be quite an upgrade. He is the No.1 center in Arizona now and he will have his choice of linemates. Potentially that could be Clayton Keller and Max Domi, and though they lack experience they certainly do not lack in upside. Stepan has been stuck in that mid-50s range for point totals, but if he can stay healthy you may see him finally reach 60. I'm bullish on him with his new team, even if that team only had one 40-point player last season (Radim Vrbata had 55). The Coyotes' wingers will benefit from having Stepan there instead of hoping that Christian Dvorak can take the next step, or Alex Burmistrov could build on the promise he showed over 26 games with them. This move may hurt Dvorak for a season or two (as in – perhaps five to 10 fewer points each year), but in the long run bringing him along slower. This acquisition should also ensure that Dylan Strome plays in the AHL this season rather than try to rush him into the NHL.

With DeAngelo gone, it frees up power-play time for Jakob Chychrun. It also opens up a spot for prospect Kyle Wood, who is a promising 21-year-old defenseman worth keeping an eye on. He had 43 points in 68 games for Texas in his rookie AHL season last