Teams Most Likely to Trade for Arizona Coyotes D-Man Keith YandleDecember 12, 2014
Teams Most Likely to Trade for Arizona Coyotes D-Man Keith Yandle
Over the last few years, there have been a few new traditions enacted by the NHL:
• The Winter Classic, a fun-filled cash cow of an outdoor game loved by fans and owners alike.
• Will (enter franchise here) relocate to (enter North American city here)? That one is fun.
• The talk about whether the Arizona (nee Phoenix) Coyotes will trade defenseman Keith Yandle.
It would be futile to link to every rumor that's ever circulated about Yandle being trade bait, so here's a quote from the man himself from an October FoxSports.com story written by Craig Morgan about him potentially being dealt.
"I'm sure it will start again soon. I've heard it for so long. It's just one of those things where you learn to tune it out."
Well, it's December, and the Coyotes are 10-16-3 and perhaps in financial distress, so let the rumors about the 28-year-old blueliner with one more year at a reasonable $5.25 million cap begin. Yandle has three goals and 19 points in 28 games, and only Erik Karlsson and Duncan Keith have more points from the back end since 2009-10. Yandle also lacks a no-trade clause.
If the Coyotes want to rebuild or bolster their forward group, Yandle is a nice chip.
But where would Yandle go? Here are five teams that could use him and may pull the trigger on a deal before the trade deadline.
All statistics via NHL.com and Hockey-Reference.com. Salary-cap information via CapGeek.com.
5. Los Angeles Kings
Salary-cap space: $4,184,648 today, $4,220,610 at the deadline
Potential trade chips: Tanner Pearson, Slava Voynov, mid-round draft picks
Why it could happen: This is somewhat of a long shot with the muddied Voynov situation, so who knows what the Kings will do as the season progresses? But if the Kings deem Voynov toxic after his domestic abuse allegations and the Coyotes want cost certainty, this could be it. If Voynov is found guilty, then forget all that.
The Kings don't necessarily need defense help anyway, but general manager Dean Lombardi usually finds a way to pull off the big difference-making deal, and bolstering the offense via the defense would fit that bill.
It should be noted that Lombardi vouched for Yandle when Team USA was picking its disappointing Olympic team. Just search "Yandle" in that lengthy Scott Burnside piece to see Lombardi's love for the talented defenseman.
4. Dallas Stars
Salary cap space: $5,426,165 now, $9,778,494 at the deadline
Potential trade chips: Julius Honka, Jamie Oleksiak, other young D-men
Why it could happen: The Stars are desperate for a top-four defenseman, and Yandle fits the bill. The issue for the Stars is how GM Jim Nill views his team, either now or at the deadline: Are the Stars still that team some thought before the season could be dangerous in the playoffs, or are they still a year or two away?
No need to mortgage the future if it's the latter. The issue for the Coyotes is they are probably in the market for forward help, not defense prospects, so a match may be difficult here.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs
Salary cap space: $896,565 now, $2,689,696 at the deadline
Potential trade chips: Jake Gardiner, Morgan Reilly, first-round pick
Why it could happen: The Leafs are playing over their heads right now, but maybe it lasts long enough to make them legitimate playoff contenders. Their defense corps isn't great; it's Dion Phaneuf, Cody Franson and a mix of young defensemen who make young mistakes and old defensemen who move like old defensemen. Yandle would be a huge upgrade on the second pairing behind Phaneuf.
The Leafs aren't exactly loaded with prospects, and they probably don't view this as their year to make a run. It still could be a match.
2. Anaheim Ducks
Salary cap space: $4,507,933 now, $13,523,800 at the deadline
Potential trade chips: Emerson Etem, picks
Why it could happen: The Ducks were so desperate for back-end help a couple weeks ago they acquired Eric Brewer. There's also not much happening offensively along the blue line outside of Sami Vatanen (21 points) Cam Fowler (16 points) and Hampus Lindholm (13 points). Francois Beauchemin is next at five points, and after that, no other D-man has more than a single point.
Etem is toiling in the minors, and if the Ducks want to take a shot at a Cup, adding a top-four defenseman like Yandle would help that cause.
1. Detroit Red Wings
Salary cap space: $3,051,698 today, $9,155,094 at the deadline
Potential trade chips: Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan, first-round pick
Why it could happen: The Red Wings have been on a quest to add a top-pairing defenseman for years. They were connected to Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle in free agency this past offseason but were rebuffed with extreme prejudice. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk aren't getting any younger, so GM Ken Holland may see this team as his last best shot to win a Stanley Cup with this group.