Derek Stepan is going to a place with better weather, but worse hockey. He should try to use the former as his takeaway following his trade from the New York Rangers to the Arizona Coyotes. The center spent his entire career with the team, so the change will be a significant one for him. For the first time in his career, however, he'll also have an opportunity to be "the man" for a franchise while his former one raises the white flag.

Stepan on the move

On Friday afternoon, the Rangers dealt Stepan and backup goaltender Antti Raanta to the Coyotes for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and the No. 7 overall pick in Friday's NHL Draft. According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the two sides had been discussing this trade last week before the roster freeze went into effect for the expansion draft of the Vegas Golden Knights. In comments made following the trade, Stepan acknowledged that he understood the business side of the NHL.

Stepan was arguably the top center on the team, so his absence will be felt. His contract pays him approximately $6.5 million annually through the 2021 season and a no-trade clause was about to kick in, so the Rangers decided that the time was right to move him.

He recorded 55 points last season, which was two off of his career high. He's more appreciated for his defensive effort. The Coyotes hope he's a piece to build around as the team tries to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Rangers look to revamp

The Rangers are in a precarious position right now. Judging from the last few years, the team doesn't appear to be in position to rebuild. But they also don't appear to be in position to contend for a Stanley Cup as long as the Pittsburgh Penguins dynasty remains in the way.

The trade of Stepan appears to be a tacit acknowledgment that the team might have to do some tearing down if it can't pick up some major pieces during the offseason.

DeAngelo was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has played in just 39 games in the pros, but the 21-year old from New Jersey has potential. The No. 7 pick in the draft is obviously valuable in and of itself, but it won't benefit the Rangers next season.

Additionally, this year's draft class is seen as being relatively weak in comparison to recent years. The analysis will have some fans wondering if they got enough in return to recoup the cost of losing Stepan for the next several seasons to Arizona.

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