Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Is Keith Yandle a Flyers possibility?

On Trade Deadline day, Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle might suddenly be available.

Is Keith Yandle a Flyers possibility?

Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle (3) during an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle (3) during an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

UPDATE (3:05pm): Keith Yandle remained with the Phoenix Coyotes through the trade deadline. Expect the possibility of trade talks resuming at the Draft in June, since that's when the Flyers and Coyotes first opened dialogue last summer.

------

TORONTO -- Heading into Wednesday's trade deadline, the Flyers' plan was to remain 'status quo' unless they could acquire a franchise-altering player to build the future around.

Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle is that player - and he's suddenly on the market, after the tea leaves indicated on Tuesday that he was untouchable.

Yandle, 26, is that puck-moving No. 1 defenseman the Flyers - and nearly all 28 other teams - are craving. The Coyotes, though, will require nothing short of an absolute haul to move Yandle out of the desert.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has indeed be in touch with Coyotes general manager Don Maloney on Wednesday. This is not the first time the Flyers have inquired about Yandle over the years.

Yandle is tied for the Coyotes' team lead in points with 21. He has 8 goals and 13 assists this season, which would tie him for fifth on the Flyers in goals this season.

Yandle has 3 years and $16.5 million remaining on his contract. His salary cap hit is $5.25 million per season. The Flyers have enough salary cap space to add Yandle by adding more players, such as Andrej Meszaros, to the long-term injury list. 

One name who would likely have to be heading out West is forward Sean Couturier, who was actually born in Phoenix while his father, Sylvain, was playing for the AHL's Roadrunners.

Couturier has seen an up-tick in his minutes - nearly 2 more minutes on average per game over his rookie season - and that is expected to increase with Max Talbot's injury leaving a hole on the penalty kill. The Flyers were looking for more out of Couturier offensively in his sophomore season, yet his numbers have gone down. He is averaging 0.08 less points per game (down to .27) and he has only 9 points in 33 games.

Couturier already has 110 career NHL games under his belt. I am not suggesting he has come anywhere close to reaching his ceiling, but the question needs to be asked: at which point is the book on Couturier written, causing his value to drop?

In some ways, Couturier's value may never be higher than it is as this very moment.

Does that mean the Flyers would be willing to part ways with the still-blossoming 20-year-old? It would likely be a surprise if Holmgren is willing to make that judgment call before 3 o'clock on Wednesday.

Even if Couturier is part of the asking price, Holmgren will have to listen and even strongly consider. Yandle is still young, he has been durable and hasn't missed a game since 2008-09, and he's a rare commodity in the NHL. He would instantly make the Flyers a more formidable foe - both now and over the next three seasons.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

More coverage
 
WATCH: Holmgren won't commit to Bryz
 
Latest NHL deals
 
Live updates: NHL trade deadline
Will the Flyers make the playoffs?
Yes.
No.
About this blog
Frequent Flyers is your home for news and analysis of all things orange and black.

Frank Seravalli Daily News Sports Columnist
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected