May 1, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) hugs defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) after he scored a goal to tie the game during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens in game one of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Cat's Question of the Week: Who Should Maloney Target?

Last week, I asked you guys: What should we do about Keith Yandle? He’s enthusiastic, energetic, and aggressive- but he loses possession of the puck, and is highly inconsistent in his own d-zone.

We got plenty of response from you guys- both through the poll itself and on social media. We had given you four options to choose from- Keep him, Trade him, Hold onto him (for the time being), or No idea. Here’s what that poll looks like-

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

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A little over half of you voted to keep him. The results were similar when I looked at the comments on our Facebook page, the tweets you sent in, and the comments made on the article itself.

No one really wanted to trade him outright, either. Makes sense- Don Maloney would be one foolish GM if he decided to send one of the team’s most enthusiastic, invested players packing. Just over a quarter of you expressed interest in finding someone to supplement him, or even replace him EVENTUALLY, though. That makes even more sense- as someone who voted in her own poll, I would have to agree with you guys.

Who should the team target, though?

One option is a Boston Bruin.

I know- I get all sorts of flack for being a Bruins fan. I’m sure you’re all thinking, “of course she wants to add a Bruin- they’re her primary team.

The suggestion makes sense from an objective perspective, though. The Coyotes still have plenty of salary space left- and the Bruins are looking to financially trim down. (Of course, by trim down, I mean hack off- the team’s flat-out broke).

Arizona could use some reinforcement on the blue line, and Boston is offering up just that- Johnny Boychuk comes with experience, consistent playing, and quite a few good years left in him, while Matt Bartkowski is young and enthusiastic, but less concerned with the offensive push than Yandle. Either man could make a good addition to a defense roster currently boasting Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Zbynek Michalek as well as the man in question, Yandle.

” Johnny Boychuk comes with experience, consistent playing, and quite a few good years left in him.”

Adding a player from Boston would also do something that the team hasn’t done yet, which is add a top-line player from a team that has won the Stanley Cup in the past five years. For a team still trying to figure out how to re-create 2012’s amazing playoff run, this could be exactly what they need. Another plus? Adding a player from Boston would be cheap, since last year’s Presidents Trophy winner isn’t looking to make an even trade.

Another solid option is Evander Kane.

This seems like a riskier move, since Maloney and Tippett just sent Mike Ribeiro packing for off-ice reasons. Evander Kane is one of those players who has off-ice issues to spare- the team may not be ready to take on that kind of baggage.

Kane has made it clear that he’s unhappy in Winnipeg, though, and could be open to moving to a team that came so close to the playoffs last season. The “old” Jets are far more likely to give the 22-year-old left winger the kind of playoff run he deserves than the “new” Jets are, which could make Arizona a desirable destination for him.

The trade wouldn’t only benefit Kane, either.In the preface to last week’s poll, I mentioned a couple of concrete numbers that didn’t look so hot for the Coyotes, and one of those was number of goals scored by each of the team’s top forwards. The top scorer on the ‘Yotes last season was Antoine Vermette, who walked away with 24 goals. Kane is nowhere near the peak in his game- and he contributed nineteen goals last season alone. If he continues to get better- which is likely, especially if he makes a clean break from the team and city where’s he been so unhappy- he could serve to further supplement the recent addition of Sam Gagner.

Yet another option could be someone like Steve Ott.

The St. Louis Blues are one of the dozens of teams across the NHL that has a surplus of centers- and Ott isn’t necessarily one the team needs to keep. Overpaid and mildly overvalued, Ott doesn’t provide nearly as much for his team as Statsny or Backes. He doesn’t have the kind of face-off percentage that recently departed Vladimir Sobotka did, either.

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What he does have, though, that Sam Gagner doesn’t- and many of last season’s Coyotes don’t, either- is consistency. When talking to The Hockey Writer’s Islanders Editor Toli Metter, he complained that Gagner doesn’t provide a team with any kind of peace of mind. Gagner is the kind of player who doesn’t play the same way from week to week. It would be nice to have someone like Ott battling Gagner for his position- it would either provide him with some motivation to improve his consistency, or give Maloney a rotating option for his lines. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that the Coyotes don’t have a solid enough roster to roll all four lines- adding someone like Ott could be a step closer to making that possibility a reality.

Finally, why has no one picked up Dustin Penner?

Every year, certain UFA’s slip through the cracks, when their teams don’t pick them back up… and somehow, no one else does, either. Coincidentally, the team that has been reportedly interested in Arizona’s own lost toy, Paul Bissonnette, mysteriously dropped a player of their own- who’s still up for grabs.

Apr 10, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Washington Capitals forward Dustin Penner (17) is checked by the Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Ron Hainsey (65) during the 1st period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Penner is the kind of player who isn’t where he used to be- but he certainly hasn’t outlived his usefulness, either. Do I think he can have another 32-goal season? Probably not. I also don’t think that he has the ability to fly through the positions on the ice like he once could. He could probably provide the team with someone big and consistent who has league experience, at best- but he’s still a UFA, and I think that Don Maloney would be kind of crazy to fail to capitalize on that.

Who Would Be the Smartest Option For Maloney to Acquire This Season?

  • Evander Kane- he's underappreciated in Winnipeg (36%, 8 Votes)
  • Dustin Penner- Why not?? (And why does no one else want him??) (27%, 6 Votes)
  • Johnny Boychuk, or another Boston Bruin- they're practically giving players away for free (18%, 4 Votes)
  • Steve Ott- He could really shine in Arizona without Backes and Stastny's shadows (9%, 2 Votes)
  • No one- the team is perfect as is. (10%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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Tags: Boston Bruins Dustin Penner Evander Kane Keith Yandle Steve Ott

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