The reports come from TSN’s Shawn Simpson, host of the Ottawa-based sports radio station TSN 1200.
The potential for a trade between the Coyotes and Senators for Stepan is something that has been considered before, with the two sides seemingly well-suited to making a deal happen that can benefit both parties.
For the Senators, Stepan would be a strong leadership player that costs very little in terms of real dollars – accounting for just $2 million in actual salary while holding a cap hit of $6.5 million.
Stepan’s $3 million signing bonus was paid months ago, meaning that the biggest issue around the deal is his cap hit, which the Senators currently have plenty of with the majority of their roster expected to be made up of young, promising prospects.
The Sens do have a plethora of center options, with the likes of Artem Anisimov Jersey, Chris Tierney Jersey, Colin White Jersey, and even Logan Brown knocking on the door, so it could be expected that a player in that position is sent in the opposite direction.
However, the Canadian club could opt to go veteran-heavy during this 56-game season and keep prospects in the minors to over-season before calling up the very best the season after.
Thomas Chabot Jersey was just leaving the Canadian Tire Centre Wednesday afternoon when he picked up the phone and talked about the upcoming season.
As the Ottawa Senators’ defenceman prepares to spend Christmas at his Ottawa home, he can finally see the finish line to the longest off-season he’s ever experienced and he’ll be quite happy to enjoy this short break from skating to prepare for the opening of training camp New Year’s Eve at the rink.
The 23-year-old Chabot, who’s expected to serve as one of the alternate captains along with Brady Tkachuk Jersey and a couple of veterans, is excited about the changes made by general manager Pierre Dorion as coach D.J. Smith heads into his second season behind the bench.
“We always talk about the fact that we’re in a rebuild and we want to be a better team for the upcoming years,” Chabot told Postmedia. “To see the players and the pieces that we added, and you look at the draft, and all the young guys that are gaining another year by gaining experience and getting a bit older, if you combine everything I feel we’re going to do well.
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“We’re happy with what we have. We’re going to face some teams that are better on paper than us. Everyone is just excited. Everybody we went and got is excited to be here. Everyone wants to start winning games and turning things around.”
Chabot’s eight-year, $64 million contract extension will kick in this season and down the road you’d have to think he’s the top candidate to be named the club’s captain. Of course, Tkachuk will also get consideration.
Chabot has been back in Ottawa for just over three months. He was skating at his home near Quebec City, but left there in the fall when the rinks were closed because the city was designated as a red zone. He’s been working with strength coach Chris Schwarz and until a couple of weeks ago was skating at the Bell Sensplex with local pros.
It’s nice to have a target and knowing Opening Night will take place Jan. 15 with a Battle of Ontario against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“The working out part has been fine but it’s been hard gauging when are we going to start,” Chabot said. “Anybody would tell you that we always try to peak at some point to get ready for camp. This summer has been different because there’s been a lot of different peaks, a lot of different times you’ve let down a little bit and maybe you’ve worked out a little bit lighter because we’ve been at it for so long.
“At the end of the day, it’s part of what we were dealing with. We knew that coming into this situation. Now, that we know we’re back. Everybody’s excited. We’ve got quite a few guys here and it’s good to see how many guys are in town, excited to get going and to get know each other. The skates have been hard, high-paced and they’ve been great.”
For the Coyotes, parting ways with Stepan would mean a few things. It would potentially free up $6.5 million in cap space, allowing the team to target some other preferred players while leaving more gaps through the middle of the offense.
The Coyotes need more centers in their line-up, so parting ways with a player that is proven at the position would be a surprise, if not for the former New York Ranger’s decreasing offensive production in Rick Tocchet’s system.
After registering a healthy 56 points in his debut season in the desert, his season totals have plummeted to 35 and 28 respectively – not great numbers for a player that often plays on the team’s top offensive line.
Under Senators head coach D.J. Smith, Stepan would likely regain his strong offensive touch and become an extremely valuable piece in their North Division campaign.
Stepan isn’t likely to put up big numbers under Tocchet again, unfortunately, meaning that the fan-favorite and alternate captain of the team is more than likely out of the door if the Coyotes can get value for him.
GM Bill Armstrong will be determined to add more draft picks, with the team making one pick in the first three rounds of the 2021 Draft – something that the Senators may be willing to accommodate with the potential value Stepan could give them.
This is still an early report, but with the NHL season now just around the corner, it wouldn’t be surprising to see things move much faster than they previously would have, especially if teams are required to stick to strict bubbles – something that could impact trades this upcoming season.