Multiple reports confirmed throughout the night that the Golden Knights were closing in on a trade for the 25-year-old forward. SinBin confirmed the trade was happening, and Darren Dreger confirmed the compensation.
David Pagnotta first reported something had been in the works from earlier in the day.
Stephenson was on the 2018 Capitals team that defeated the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final.
He scored an NHL career-high 18 points during the Cup run.
The forward will join the Golden Knights in New Jersey on Tuesday when they face the Devils, and will likely make his team debut. Vegas reassigned forward Nicolas Roy to AHL Chicago as a corresponding move.
Stephenson was a third-round pick (No. 77 overall) in 2012 by Washington; ironically it was George McPhee who made that selection. McPhee, the current president of hockey operations in Vegas, was the Capitals’ general manager from 1997 to 2014.
The Saskatoon native isn’t known for his scoring prowess; he has four points (one goal, three assists) in 24 games this season and has 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in his NHL career. Stephenson has been a bottom-six guy for most of his pro career, but the 5-foot-11 center possesses solid speed. If you’re quick and can control the puck, you’ll likely fit in on the Golden Knights.
Stephenson can play center or wing. That would allow him to get some time on the fourth line. His ability to initiate the forecheck from the fourth line could benefit Vegas should the club keep William Carrier on the third line for the foreseeable future. Carrier has been moved up in the absence of center Cody Eakin, who is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
It’s not a trade that moves the needle, but it provides the Golden Knights a speed threat on the fourth line without losing that ability from Carrier.
Per CapFriendly, Stephenson is playing the lone season of a one-year, $1.05 million contract. He is set to be a restricted free agent after this season.