In a bright beginning to her tenure with HH, our staff writer Cori Crenshaw introduced Coyotes fans to defenseman Keith Yandle- and boy, did it have an interesting outcome.
Some fans love the kid. They think he’s fresh, aggressive, and passionate.
Others, though, aren’t so sure. They are unable to overlook his inability to hold onto the puck, and criticize his lack of maturity. He is unable to change up his style of play when needed, and can’t be a stay-at-home defenseman when that is what the team is looking for. He can score, but he can’t score as well as a forward- and he isn’t as good at what he’s SUPPOSED to be doing.
It’s inevitable: the Arizona Coyotes need to go through another painful rebuild phase. Rebuild phases are unpleasant, difficult, and take more time than many fans are willing to invest in years of losses, trades, and having better development teams than NHL rosters.
Part of this rebuild phase needs to address the team’s lack of scoring- while a number of the team’s forwards were able to surpass the double digits in goals this past season, no one managed to make it over the 40-goal mark. As a matter of fact, no one made it over the 30-goal mark, either… or even the 25-goal mark.
That’s right- the highest goal scorer on the team, Antoine Vermette, walked away from the 2013-2014 season with only 24 goals.
Another facet of the team that needs addressing, though, is the team’s defense. On a team with more negative +/- ratings than anything else, developing a solid, impenetrable blue line is a crucial must. It says a lot about the team that “Biznasty” had the highest ratio of on-ice goals scored to goals against… and he only walked away from the season with a +6.
He was also only on the ice for a couple of minutes per game- according to Extra Skater, he averaged under five minutes of ice time per game.
This suggests that a player like Yandle needs to go, and fast. The young defenseman had a shoddy Corsi rating- he was no Tanner Glass, but he hovered around the fifty percent Corsi For, which was too low for someone who carried so much of his team’s defense. I’m not going to argue Corsi stats here, but it’s an observation that I’ve had brought up to me on more than one occasion.
So why hasn’t he gone yet? He still holds a decent enough value that the Coyotes could trade him for some decent prospects, or even for a nice, high-scoring winger.
There are a couple of reasons that it might be smart of Tippett and Maloney to keep the blue liner around. The first is that, despite his poor puck possession, he’s still one of the team’s best options on defense at the moment. It’s hard to trade one defenseman for another, so the team would have to bring in someone to replace him prior to his departure for him to be good to go. The Bruins are a team that has a surplus of defense but a scarcity of cap space, which could be good for the Coyotes in trade negotiations, but news of talks between the two teams has remained quiet.
Another reason the team might be keeping Yandle around is his heart, both on and off the ice. The twenty-seven-year old contributed more assists this past season than any other Coyote- by thirteen. In addition, he brought the kind of attitude that juxtaposed that of Mike Ribeiro, helping out with charities in Arizona and Boston. He was especially motivated to help out in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013; not only did he write “Pray for Boston” on his skates and pay tribute to a victim of the bombing with his jersey, but he auctioned the jersey for charity.
What do you think? Should the team keep Keith Yandle, or should he go? Let us know!
What Should Maloney Do With Keith Yandle?
- Keep Him- he provides more for the team than just an on-ice presence (52%, 12 Votes)
- Starting looking at other players to replace him, but don't move him- YET. (26%, 6 Votes)
- Who Knows? The whole team is a mess. (13%, 3 Votes)
- Send him packing- he's hurting the team more than he's helping (9%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 23