The Ottawa Senators gave up a significant asset to acquire Derek Stepan in the off-season, but now they are already looking to deal himself elsewhere.
The 30-year-old center as traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a second-round pick in this year’s draft, having spent the past three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes.
The hope was that he would recapture his early-career form, where he was a regular 50+ points producer, and provide veteran guidance to the abundance of top young prospects on the Senators roster.
So far, however, the adjustment to the move north of the border has been a difficult one for the Hastings, Minnesota native, who has found himself regularly used on the third line.
In 11 games so far this season, Derek Stepan has scored just one goal and has four total points, far below expectations considering the high price paid for his services.
Now, it seems that the Senators are looking to move Stepan on with some reports suggesting that he is struggling with being so far away from his young family and the attempts to trade him are as a result of this, rather than for his performances to date.
Any trade for Stepan is unlikely to bring back the same value that the Senators gave up to get him, but it may see the team add a player to fill the hole he would leave on their line-up.
His $6.5 million cap hit may be the biggest deterrent for a number of teams around the league, though his cost in real dollars (just $2 million) could be of value to cash strapped teams or teams such as the LA Kings, who have plenty of cap space available to them and are closer to his family’s home.
This trade, while initially expected to be a real positive addition to the young Senators’ team, may go down as a loss in the long-run, with Stepan’s performances since arriving not likely to entice teams to give up much value in return.
If the Senators are determined to offload him, retaining his salary and halving his cap hit could attract the interests of many more teams, especially those that are viewed as contenders and could do with some depth offense in their hunt for the Stanley Cup.
It will be an interesting storyline to follow moving forward, especially after Stepan’s recent number change may have reignited hopes that he would be able to stay in the capital and help mentor the team’s young players at least through this shortened season.