After no first round selection for the past five seasons, the New York Rangers now have two, but it comes at the price of two their veterans.
In a pre-draft trade with the Arizona Coyotes, the Rangers sent over Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta, in exchange for the seventh overall selection in tonight’s NHL Entry Draft. It’s the highest first round selection the Rangers have had since 2004, when they took Al Montoya with the sixth overall pick. The Rangers also received Anthony DeAngelo, a former first-round selection who played 39 games with Arizona last season.
Thus ends the Rangers tenure for Stepan, who arrived in New York as a second-round pick in 2008. Stepan spent seven years playing with the big club, tallying 360 points (128 goals) over 515 games. An alum of Wisconsin University, Stepan’s durability defined his New York tenure. Over his seven years, Stepan missed just 25 games. The image of Stepan scoring the series clinching goal over the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of 2015 Eastern Conference Semifinal will surely be etched into the annals of Rangers history, as the goal was the finishing touch on a comeback from 3-1 in the series. Another classic Stepan memory came in his very first game, when he put in a hat trick in his NHL debut, becoming the first Rangers rookie to nab a hat trick and just the fourth player in NHL history to score one in his debut.
As for Raanta, he completes two solid years of backup service in New York, likely headed for the first full-time starting job, opened up by Arizona’s trade of Mike Smith to Calgary. Raanta apeared in 55 games for the Rangers, having spent the first two seasons of his career in Chicago. He posted a record of 27-14-4, with a GAA of 2.25. This past season, Raanta posted four shutouts, a new career high.
In addition to the new selection, the Rangers also get DeAngelo, a Sewell, NJ native and defenseman who came into the league via a first-round selection by Tampa Bay in 2014. Despite solid professional numbers, DeAngelo made headlines for the wrong reasons in his first NHL season, as he was suspended for three games for abuse of an official during a late December game against Boston. Prior, he was served a suspension during his junior league years for directing a homophobic slur toward a teammate. Signs of his versatility have been on display, putting up 71 points in 51 games during the 2013-14 season with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490