Shedding Stepan’s $6.5 million cap hit each of the next four years before his no-trade clause kicked in July 1 was paramount for Gorton, but parting ways with Raanta was part of the price of doing business. Gorton said Arizona insisted on the goalie’s inclusion in the deal.
We were reluctant to get rid of Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta; these were two really good players for us, Gorton. said Derek, in particular, has been a good Ranger for a long time. We drafted him and developed him; and Raanta, since we’ve had him, has been really good. They are two guys that are going to be hard to replace.
Stepan, a second-round pick in the 2008 draft, scored a hat trick in his NHL debut and went on to record 50 points or more in five of his seven NHL seasons, totaling 360 points in 515 regular-season games. He also appeared in another 97 playoff contests for New York, and was an alternate captain like Girardi for several years.
After suppressing the Penguins into a historic low 12 shots in Game 1, the Predators again dominated scoring chances and outshot the Pens 32-19 in the first 40 minutes of Game 2.
Predators goalie Pekka Rinne allowed four goals in Monday’s loss and ceded another suspect shot early when Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel snuck a puck short side between Rinne’s glove and pad to tie the game 1-1 with 16:36 gone in the first period. Rinne seemed shaky, but stopped the next 18 shots he faced until Guentzel scored again 10 seconds into the third period.
Off the opening faceoff, Bryan Rust carried the puck into the attacking zone and fired a shot that deflected off Rinne’s pads and into the slot.
Guentzel, who was trailing the play, found a juicy rebound for the taking and buried it into the yawning crease, giving Rinne little chance to get back in time.