With the Arizona Coyotes' playoff hopes dimming, GM Don Maloney made what could be the first of several deals before the March trade deadline, shipping goalie Devan Dubnyk to Minnesota for a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
The Dubnyk trade increases focus upon the Coyotes' plans for several of their notable veterans. They made clear last week via Twitter, long-time captain Shane Doan isn't available. It remains to be seen what the future holds for center Antoine Vermette, who's an unrestricted free agent in July.
While Vermette's status dominates the Coyotes trade watch, rumors persist over the future of defenseman Keith Yandle. The 28-year-old has one season remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $5.25 million. He's among the Coyotes' leading scorers this season and there are rival clubs who could use his puck-moving skills on their bluelines.
The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa believes Yandle, a Boston native, would be a perfect fit with the Bruins. The asking price, however, could be steep. Shinzawa speculates it could cost the Bruins Torey Krug, “maybe another young roster player, a pick and a prospect” to land Yandle.
In recent weeks there's been suggestions the Coyotes should peddle Yandle to the Colorado Avalanche straight up for versatile forward Ryan O'Reilly. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman thinks such a deal would make sense for both clubs. The Avalanche land an experienced top-two defenseman and the Coyotes get a possible replacement for Vermette. Friedman claims, however, there's skepticism around the league Maloney will move his best trade chip for a player who could bolt via free agency in 2016.
Yandle's future will be determined by whatever plans new Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway has in store for the club. If a major rebuild is in order, Yandle could be dealt before the trade deadline. A more likely option, however, is Maloney fields trade offers in the off-season, where teams have more cap space to work with.
TEAMS SEEKING SEKERA
Expect considerable interest in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera if he's placed on the block before the March trade deadline. Sekera, 28, is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July and it could take double his current annual cap hit of $2.75 million to keep him in Carolina.
Sportnet's Elliotte Friedman reports the New York Rangers could be among the suitors. TSN's Bob McKenzie believes the Los Angeles Kings could consider Sekera as a short-term option to replace the suspended Slava Voynov.
The Rangers have limited cap space this season so they'll either have to move some salary to the Hurricanes in the deal or shed dollars in a separate deal. The Kings have some wiggle room thanks to Voynov's suspension but could run into cap difficulties if he returns later in the season.
PETRY ON THE MARKET
Teams in need of an affordable defenseman with a right-handed shot could be in touch with the Edmonton Oilers before the trade deadline. Blueliner Jeff Petry is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July and could test the market this summer.
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson considers Petry's days as an Oilers are numbered, believing the 27-year-old rearguard has value as a trade asset. He speculates the Pittsburgh Penguins or Detroit Red Wings could come calling.
It's no secret the Red Wings have been in the market for some time for a top-four blueliner who shoots right. The Penguins, however, have considerable depth in young defensemen. Even with Olli Maatta sidelined for the rest of the season to a shoulder injury, there's sufficient depth there to offset his absence.
Keep an eye on the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars if Petry hits the market. Like the Wings, the Ducks and Stars could use another right-handed shot on their respective bluelines.
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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