Discuss: Which teams should be pursuing Keith Yandle?
We only ask this question because the consensus is that he’ll be traded by the Arizona Coyotes prior to the March 2 deadline.
Yandle is a 27-year-old defenseman who’s signed through next season for a cap hit of $5.25 million, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. So far this season, he has four goals and 23 assists in 43 games while logging an average of 24:10 in ice time. League-wide, only Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk has more power-play points (24) than Yandle (17).
For any potential acquiring team, know this:
--- Yandle won’t come cheap. The Coyotes should, at the very least, be demanding a top prospect or promising, young roster player in return.
--- Yandle can’t sign a contract extension until July 1. That brings some uncertainty into the equation with regards to his future past 2015-16.
--- About that contract extension. The market demands that he’s going to get paid. Probably in the neighborhood of $7 million a season.
Now, a few potential destinations to get the ball rolling:
--- Colorado. The Avs need defensemen and they’ve got a potential trade chip in Ryan O’Reilly. The caveat there is that O’Reilly, like Yandle, can’t sign an extension until July 1. Would the Coyotes roll the dice and gamble they could get him locked up?
--- Detroit. Yandle doesn’t shoot right, which would be ideal. But he does put up points, and that’s something Red Wings d-men, other than Niklas Kronwall (5G, 18A), aren’t doing much of. Also, could adding a proven puck-mover that’s still in his prime help convince Mike Babcock to stay?
--- Minnesota. The Wild could probably use another big-minute d-man, if only to lessen Ryan Suter’s workload. Plus, their power play isn’t very good, and Yandle could help there.
--- Boston. Not sure how the Bruins would fit Yandle under the cap (isn’t the cap why they had to trade Johnny Boychuk?), but the idea is out there.
OK, take it away, commenters. Which teams should be aggressively pursuing Yandle? Where do you think he’ll end up?