Top Five Reasons Every Coyotes Fan Should Be Watching Training Camp

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4. Keith Yandle (and whoever he’s paired with)

Mar 25, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle (middle) carries the puck as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (left) and center Brian Gibbons (49) defend during the third period against at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Phoenix Coyotes won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It wouldn’t be an article about the Arizona Coyotes if I didn’t bring up Keith Yandle, now would it?

In all seriousness, though, Yandle is entering the season without his final top-four pairing. Derek Morris is no longer a desert dog… and it’s time to see who will take his place next to the ever-controversial alternate captain.

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  • I, personally, am the biggest advocate for a Yandle-Connor Murphy pairing. I’d love to see the 21-year-old continue to improve his game alongside one of the most offensive players on the team (no, but really- Yandle finished the season first in points. Overall. Just let that sink in). Murphy was originally drafted based on scouting reports that he was a solid, smart, offensive-minded defenseman, much like Yandle and superstar Oliver Ekman-Larsson. When put alongside Yandle, though, he was able to quickly adapt a more stay-at-home style of play, which is something that not many players- at the NHL level or not- are able to necessarily do. I think the two have a natural on-ice chemistry, and that’s what matters.

    If that doesn’t pan out, though, the team has no shortage of up-and-coming blue liners. Michael Stone could very easily slot in next to Yandle- and while I don’t see it being the case, there’s always Brandon Gormley.

    As a final resort, of course, there are a handful of teams over the salary cap (one of which has two RFA’s sadly sitting in the bleachers without contracts as training camp gets underway), and Yandle could always find his new linemate coming from another team entirely. Could all depend on how things look at training camp.