The Arizona Coyotes have traded defenseman Keith Yandle, minor-league blueliner Chris Summers and a fourth-round draft pick in 2015to the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman John Moore, prospect forward Anthony Duclair, a second-round pick in 2015 and a 2016 first-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is one of the surprise deals of the season. Yandle was often mentioned in trade rumors linking him to the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings or Colorado Avalanche. There was recent speculation an Eastern Conference playoff contender would make a pitch for him. No one expected it would be the Rangers.
To make the deal work, the Coyotes are retaining 50 percent of Yandle’s salary. He’s earning an annual cap hit of $5.25 million through 2015-16. The Rangers are the obvious short-term winners here, getting a terrific puck-moving defenseman in Yandle to fill in for a clearly fading Dan Boyle on their top-four defense pairings. It’s apparent the Rangers are in “win now” mode, hoping Yandle can bolster their blueline depth and thus their chances for another run at the Stanley Cup.
In the long-term, however, this deal could work out very well for the Coyotes. Duclair was a Team Canada linemate with Coyotes top prospect Max Domi at the 2015 WJC and they meshed well together. If they maintain that chemistry going forward, the Coyotes could have a dynamite young first line. And if the Coyotes manage to land Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in this year’s draft, even more so. Moore is promising but often frustrated Rangers coach Alain Vigneault with his inconsistent play. He’ll have an opportunity to improve under Coyotes coach Dave Tippett.