Keith Yandle had 43 points in 82 games for Phoenix last season and nine points in 16 playoff games. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reported Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney had been working on a trade in the days leading up to the start of the NHL lockout that he hoped to have “in the hopper” to pull off once the lockout ended.
But the deal fell through, and while Maloney wouldn't specify what he had sought, McLellan pointed out the Coyotes have a surplus of defensemen and are in need of scoring depth.
One of those defensemen, Keith Yandle, was a frequent subject of trade speculation dating back to the 2012 NHL draft, when it was felt Maloney was trying to use Yandle to land a scoring forward.
A rumor last September cited an unnamed source who claimed Yandle, a Boston native, would love to play for the Bruins and resulted in speculation around Bruins center David Krejci.
Yandle would attract considerable attention if Maloney dangled him for a scorer. The 26-year-old blueliner recently claimed he wasn't bothered by the rumors, but professed his loyalty to the Coyotes.
If Maloney did shop Yandle, he could seek a return within the blueliner's average annual cap hit of $5.25 million. Yandle doesn’t have a no-trade clause, so the Coyotes GM won’t be handcuffed by the defenseman’s preference.
Yandle’s $5.25 million cap hit is also exactly the same as Krejci’s, which further explains why the two remain linked in the rumor mill.
The Bruins center has a modified no-trade clause, but it doesn't go into effect until next season, so his approval is not needed either.
Krejci was a frequent subject of trade rumors throughout 2011-12, but he recently told ESPN's James Murphy his hope was to overcome last season's frustrating performance and remain a Bruin.
If the Coyotes use Yandle as a trade chip for a scoring forward, they could find a better return than Krejci, whose inconsistency is what got him in the rumor mill in the first place. A “Yandle-for-Krejci” swap would certainly benefit the Bruins more than the Coyotes.
DOES TORONTO HAVE GOALTENDING TRADE OPTIONS?
It remains to be seen what moves, if any, new Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis will make to bolster his roster before the upcoming season.
The Leafs have been linked to Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo since last summer. When Nonis was GM of the Canucks in 2006, he masterminded the trade that sent Luongo to Vancouver from Florida, thus the expectation in Toronto is he’ll make a strong push for the 33-year-old netminder.
Nonis, meanwhile, continues to stand by his current goaltending tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens, but if the duo gets off to a poor start, the new Leafs GM will be forced to shop for help.
Sportsnet's Dan Murphy believes Nonis has other choices besides Luongo to upgrade the Leafs goaltending and suggested Jaroslav Halak of the St. Louis Blues or Jonathan Bernier of the LA Kings as options.
Murphy claimed Halak was behind Brian Elliott on the Blues depth chart. That may have been true earlier last season when Elliott supplanted a struggling Halak, but the latter saw the bulk of the starts from January up until when he was knocked out of the 2012 playoffs by a foot injury.
Halak or Elliott could become trade targets for the Leafs or other clubs seeking goaltending depth later in the season. However, given how well the duo performed in 2011-12, the Blues are expected to keep the tandem intact this season.
As for Bernier, the Kings' preference appears to be keeping him as Jonathan Quick's backup for the time being.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.