NHL Rumors: Yandle to Wings Talk Heating Up

By Peter Schneider

Look up Keith Yandle, the Detroit Red Wings, and NHL Rumors on Twitter, and you are bound to find many hits.  Over the past couple days the “Twitterverse” has been buzzing with how the Red Wings plan on adding another top-tier defender to their lineup now that free agency seems to become less and less of an option.  Although it has appeared that GM Ken Holland has struck out on all big possibilities this summer, a transaction involving Yandle coming to play for Detroit could quickly alleviate a lot of concerns Wings fans have thus far.

The biggest problem is, however, that Yandle is not a free agent.  The Wings are going to have to deal for him, and he is not going to come cheap.  So who are the Wings willing to part with?  And what exactly does a Phoenix Coyotes team need in return in order to give up their star defenseman?  Here is a quick summary of the desired defenseman and possible candidates for a trade.

Yandle emerged in his first full season with the Coyotes in 2009-10 as a solid defensive player (+16) with an ability to chip in offensively (12G, 29A).  He continued his success into the following two seasons, eclipsing the 10 goals plateau in both years with 59 and 43 point campaigns in 2010-11 and 2011-12, respectively.  He is only 25 years old and is viewed by many to only have an upside including future Norris trophies.  Considering the Coyotes defense-minded style of play, it is predicted he might flourish quarterbacking a more potent power play.

Trade candidates to trade for the Red Wings:

Valtteri Filppula is not exactly the “Finnish Flash”, but he has been a solid 3rd or 2nd liner for the Detroit faithful for the past five seasons.  Filppula had his best season last year when he was switched over to the wing alongside Henrik Zetterberg, recording over 20 goals (23) for the first time in his NHL career and eclipsing the 60 point mark (63) for the first time as well.  He is responsible defensively and could also play center, something the defense-first Coyotes might really covet.  Don’t forget that Filppula has never been over 50 points in his career, so maybe the Wings are thinking to sell high.

Johan Franzen provides instant offense to a Coyotes team that needs just that.  Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan will not be carrying the load entirely, and if Yandle were to depart, the Coyotes would need someone on the ice to pick up his 40+ points per season.  Franzen has proven himself to be devastatingly effective in the playoffs, especially in the 2009 and 2010 runs to the finals.  Since then, however, injuries have been prevalent, and perhaps the Wings would be willing to part with their “Mule”.

Gustav Nyquist could also be brought into discussion for a Yandle trade.  The very young Swede has already showcased his talent alongside Pavel Datsyuk on the first line last year, and although he is no proven commodity, the forecast is very bright indeed.  Nyquist also played on the 3rd and 4th lines at times, grinding out minutes and showing his ability to be defensively responsible.  Due to his lack of experience, expect at least one or two picks to be dealt as a package deal.

The fact remains, however, that unless the price is right for both teams there will not be any exchange of players.  GM Holland will not be dismantling his team nor trading away key young talent just to satisfy some uneasy fans, but with an overflow of forwards and a current defensive gap, sometimes a move has to be made.

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