Capitals should regret trading Chandler Stephenson

Chandler Stephenson Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Chandler Stephenson Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals made a terrible mistake in December of 2019 in trading Chandler Stephenson to the Vegas Golden Knights.

As a result of the trade the Capitals got worse. Yes they still lost in the first round of Stephenson’s second year but that series against the Carolina Hurricanes could’ve gone either way.

That summer Stephenson won an arbitration battle which put the Caps in a salary cap bind ensuing a possible trade. Yes it was good for them in the short term to get out of cap hell but in the long term it was really bad.

Stephenson had six goals and 12 assists for 18 points in the regular season during 2017-18 which was his rookie year. In the Caps run to the Cup that spring, he added two goals and five assists for seven points.

The next year he had five goals and six assists for 11 points. Prior to the trade he had three goals and one assist for four points and then eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points with the Vegas Golden Knights.

He then embraced a bigger top six role with his new team shortly after the pandemic. He had 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points in 2021 and 21 goals and 43 assists for 64 points last season.

This season for Vegas he had 16 goals and 49 assists for 65 points. His points and assists were career highs while his 21 goals the previous season.

Now he looks to join Andre Burakovsky in becoming the second former member from the 2018 Caps Cup team to win their second Stanley Cup and his new team the Vegas Golden Knights have an incredible opportunity to do that after winning the first two games of the finals to take a 2-0 lead over the Florida Panthers.

So far in the finals he has yet to dent the twine but did have an assist in Game 1 and two assists last night in Game 2. Overall he has eight goals and nine assists for 17 points this spring.

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The Golden Knights got better as a result of this trade. The Caps simply got older and now realize there was another one that got away.