Derek Stepan was traded to the Ottawa Senators by the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday for a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.
The 30-year-old center scored 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 70 regular-season games and five points (one goal, four assists) in nine postseason games with the Coyotes last season. Stepan can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
"I was surprised but can't really say I was shocked (by the trade)," Stepan said Monday. "I really am (excited) when I look at this [Senators] roster. I talked with the coach (D.J. Smith), I've talked with a couple of the young guys already, and it's something that I really enjoy, playing with a younger group. I like being able to teach them and I really feel like at this point in my career I'm ready to get back to that production that I was at for the majority of my career. I felt really good in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]. I felt like I played some really good hockey against Nashville and Colorado. I'm ready to go and I can't wait. I'm super pumped. Obviously there's some family stuff that makes it a little bit of a hiccup. But for the most part, from the hockey side of it, I am jacked up as can be."
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Stepan is staying in Arizona awaiting the birth of his third child. The Senators, one of seven teams that did not take part in the NHL Return to Play Plan last season, can open training camp Dec. 31.
"We're kind of just in wait mode and see when the baby comes," he said. "And when the baby gets here, I'll do my best to get up there and get up there as fast as possible. The baby is due in early January. Obviously it's the third, you can't really predict it, but in the situation I'm in. You hope that it'll come at a good time and be healthy. But as of right now we're just kind of sitting and waiting."
Stepan is the latest veteran acquisition for the Senators this offseason. Ottawa, which finished 30th in the NHL last season with a .437 points percentage, also added forwards Evgenii Dadonov and Alex Galchenyuk as free agents and acquired goalie Matt Murray and defenseman Erik Gudbranson in trades.
"Derek's acquisition provides us with important stability at center heading into the season," Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Saturday. "He plays a 200-foot game and has proven to be a reliable special-teams player throughout his career. His addition to our lineup will also represent a valuable leadership presence within our group."
Selected by the New York Rangers in the second round (No. 51) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Stepan has scored 479 points (167 goals, 312 assists) in 739 NHL games with the Coyotes and Rangers. He's scored 54 points (20 goals, 34 assists) in 106 playoff games.
Stepan was traded by the Rangers, along with goalie Antti Raanta, to the Coyotes for defenseman Tony DeAngelo and the No. 7 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft (forward Lias Andersson) on June 23, 2017.
"On behalf of the entire Coyotes organization, I would like to thank Derek for everything he did for the Coyotes the past three seasons," Arizona general manager Bill Armstrong said Saturday. "Derek is the consummate professional and a class act. We wish him and his family all the best in the future."
NHL.com staff writer Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report