As the Arizona Coyotes continue to struggle (2-6-2 in their last 10 games) amid ongoing questions over the state of their ownership, there's growing speculation trades could be in the offing soon.
TSN's Bob McKenzie reports Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle has once again popped up in the rumor mill. While Yandle has frequently appeared in trade chatter in recent years, McKenzie claims there's a feeling among the GMs he's spoken with that the blueliner could be dealt this season.
Yandle, 28, is in the fourth season of a five-year, $26.25-million contract, which lacks a no-trade clause. While his annual cap hit is $5.25 million, he'll earn $5.5 million this season and $5.75 million next season. He currently leads the Coyotes in assists, points, power-play points and shots.
If the Coyotes shop Yandle, McKenzie believes they'll seek a top-six forward in return. He claims the Detroit Red Wings could be among the suitors, though they've sought a top-four right-handed blueliner and Yandle has a left-handed shot.
While the NHL holiday trade freeze (midnight on Dec. 19) is fast approaching, Coyotes management require ownership approval to make any significant moves. League approval for investor Andrew Barroway to become the club's majority owner is reportedly ongoing, meaning a major move like trading Yandle could wait until the New Year.
DEVILS MAY NEED TO FIND DEAL
The New Jersey Devils find themselves with only three victories in their last 10 games as they head to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Dec. 11. Injuries and illness have taken a toll, with five regulars – forwards Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and Ryane Clowe, blueliners Bryce Salvador and Adam Larsson – on injured reserve, plus wingers Mike Cammalleri and Dainius Zubrus listed as day-to-day.
Though the Devils remain in playoff contention in the Eastern Conference, they could fall out of the race completely if they don't turn things around soon.
NJ.com's Rich Chere doesn't believe a big trade is necessary to change the Devils fortunes. He notes the players they'd like to move (Salvador, Damien Brunner) won't fetch a significant return, and he doesn't expect youngsters Jon Merrill and Damon Severson to be dealt.
The Devils recently placed Brunner on waivers but there were no takers. NorthJersey.com's Tom Gulitti reports GM Lou Lamoriello attempted to trade the 28-year-old winger and still seeks a way to move him. ESPN.com's Craig Custance claims there's no plans to allow Brunner to play in Europe, but that could change if he's not dealt soon. Custance suggests the Dallas Stars could be a fit for Brunner, as GM Jim Nill was part of Detroit Red Wings management when Brunner played for the Wings in 2013.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post advocates the Devils stage a fire sale of veterans like Elias, Jaromir Jagr, Marek Zidlicky, Michael Ryder and Martin Havlat in order to tank the season and improve their chances of winning the 2015 NHL draft lottery. Lamoriello is unlikely to follow that advice, but if the Devils fall out of playoff contention in February he could field offers for some of those players.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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