As we continue our foray into the trade market trying to find the perfect match for the Red Wings, we head back to Arizona to look at another one of their defensemen. Kyle already took us through potential franchise defenseman (and incredibly expensive) trade target Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Now we're going to go a little more experienced and perhaps a little cheaper in Keith Yandle.
Birth Date: September 9, 1986 (28 years old)
Place of Birth: Boston, MA
Experience: 8 seasons
Drafted by Phoenix in 2005 (105th overall).
The 6'1" 190-pound veteran has been the subject of trade rumors for a couple years already. Yandle is signed through next season at a cap hit of $5.25M, but his actual salary will be $500K higher thanks to the backloading the team did when they signed him. Yandle has put up good point totals on a Coyotes team that has gone from iffy to good and back to bad again. He's on pace this year to approach his career high of 59 points despite that he's getting a bit unluckier than usual this season. Yandle has consistently been given fairly sheltered 2nd-pairing duties on the Coyotes, but has excelled in that role.
The Pros and Cons:
Let's get the left-shooting stick problem out of the way first. For the crime of having the blade of his stick face the same direction as every other Red Wings' defenseman not named Marchenko, Yandle gets an immediate strike against him. Of course, the way Yandle uses it is superior to pretty much all of them too, so let's put that concern on the back-burner.
Yandle would bring a puck-moving offensive threat to the Wings that should match and/or exceed Niklas Kronwall's. He's everything we were hoping that either Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith, or Jakub Kindl would be while they're developing. Having two of those would allow Detroit to improve forward puck movement from their own blue line and would have two established PP quarterbacks running point on the umbrella.
Defensively, Yandle's a bit more of a question. While his team is struggling with possession, he isn't rising above that challenge like Ekman-Larsson and there's doubt as to whether he can. If the Wings are looking for an all-around minute-muncher, Yandle spends seven seconds per game on the PK, but does lead his team in even strength time on ice.
Yandle is going to command a smaller return than OEL will, for a bunch of reasons. OEL is younger, has a friendlier contract, and is arguably a better two-way defenseman. OEL is also more or less the lynchpin of the blueline corps going forward, so ownership/management is probably less willing to give him up unless the return is a home run.
Here is Five For Howling's projection:
Yandle + a 2nd or 3rd round pick for:
2015 1st round pick
The Wings get Yandle for 1+ year and a depth draft pick for their 1st, a scorer they don't have room on the team for right now, and a big ol' defensive prospect
I do think this trade makes sense and is something I would be happy to see the Wings pull off, but I'm not sure that Ken Holland gets away quite so easily. I have to think that one of the Wings' big four defensive prospects (Ouellet, Marchenko, Sproul, Jensen) would also need to be included and I might say the Coyotes forego giving up their pick, even with the additional player. I know Don Maloney has been told to cut salary and the Coyotes probably don't want that $500K in salary above Yandle's cap hit sitting around, but he's been part of the organization long enough that I think Maloney has a bit more bargaining power.
What do you think?