Center Derek Stepan doesn't consider himself an old-timer, though at 27 he has played seven NHL seasons and is four years older than the average age of his new Arizona Coyotes teammates (23). "I still feel like a young guy," said Stepan, who is participating in Da Beauty League, where a host of NHL players with ties to Minnesota are playing games for charity twice a week through Aug. 23 at Braemar Arena. "But now I look at the lineup and I think there's only going to be one guy that's older than me up front (forward Jamie McGinn, 28), and maybe two or three guys on the back end (defensemen Zbynek Michalek, 34; Alex Goligoski, 32; Niklas Hjalmarsson, 30). It's definitely a new experience, but something that certainly doesn't worry me. I've been in a leadership role in New York and I'll just transfer into a new one in Arizona. I couldn't be more excited." Arizona acquired Stepan and goaltender Antti Raanta on June 23 in a trade with the New York Rangers for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and a first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Stepan, from Hastings, Minnesota, has 360 points (128 goals, 232 assists) in 515 NHL games, all with the Rangers, who selected him in the second round (No. 51) of the 2008 NHL Draft. He has at least 53 points in each of his past four seasons and was an alternate captain for the past three seasons. Stepan made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his seven seasons, including the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and the Eastern Conference Final in 2012 and 2015. Stepan hopes those numbers and experience help foster change in Arizona. The Coyotes haven't qualified for the playoffs since 2012, and finished 29th, 24th and 28th in the standings in the past three seasons, respectively.
Stepan expects success for Coyotes, ready for leadership role
NHL.com | Aug 4