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Plenty of movement ahead of Monday's NHL trade deadline

By Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun

Phoenix Coyotes defenceman Keith Yandle (3) celebrates his 2nd period goal against the Los Angeles Kings during Game 5 of the NHL Western Conference hockey finals in Glendale, Arizona, May 22, 2012. (REUTERS)

Phoenix Coyotes defenceman Keith Yandle (3) celebrates his 2nd period goal against the Los Angeles Kings during Game 5 of the NHL Western Conference hockey finals in Glendale, Arizona, May 22, 2012. (REUTERS)

Now that Team Canada star linemates Anthony Duclair and Max Domi have been reunited in what is turning out to be an outstanding rebuild by Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, who better to ask what makes them click than World Junior Championship teammate Connor McDavid?

Remember how dynamic the Duclair-Domi-Sam Reinhart line was during Canada’s march to the gold medal almost two months ago? Thanks to a deal that sent Duclair from the Rangers to the Coyotes on Sunday as part of a trade that saw coveted blueliner Keith Yandle head to Gotham, he and Domi represent the bright future of a franchise that has hit the reset button with authority.

With Domi and Duclair combining for 18 points and going a cumulative plus-21 for Canada at the world juniors, it’s interesting to kick around the secret to their on-ice chemistry.

For McDavid, the key is their relationship away from the rink.

“They were great friends off the ice, so I’m sure that translated well to the ice,” McDavid wrote in a text to Sun Media on Sunday night.

Here’s a thought: Imagine if McDavid ends up in Arizona, too.

Introducing Anthony Duclair, Max Domi and Connor McDavid - the Coyotes’ Three Amigos.

We’re just speculating here, of course. At the same time, Maloney has manoeuvred his team into getting into prime position for a shot at McDavid, the jewel of the 2015 NHL draft.

In what could be termed as a blockbuster, the Rangers picked up the smooth-skating Yandle, defenceman Chris Summers and a fourth-round pick in 2015 on Sunday. But the cost was steep indeed as the Broadway Blueshirts sent Duclair, defenceman John Moore, a first-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft and a second-round pick in the 2015 draft to Arizona.

As part of the deal, the Coyotes are expected to retain half of Yandle’s salary, which was a vital stipulation for the deal to be completed since the Rangers are up against the salary cap.

Give Maloney credit for doing an outstanding job heading into the deadline. In less than 24 hours, his return for Yandle and pending unrestricted free agent Antoine Vermette translates into two first-round picks, a second round pick, Moore, Duclair and blueline prospect Klas Dahlbeck, who was playing in the American Hockey League.

At the same time, in shipping out two of the Coyotes best players in Yandle and Vermette, the Coyotes may have taken yet another step in realizing their dream of snapping up McDavid in the upcoming entry draft this summer. As of Sunday, they were in 28th spot in the NHL standings with 47 points, just one point ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and four points in front of the basement-dwelling Buffalo Sabres.

According to the draft lottery odds, finishing 28th gives you a 11.5% chance of landing the No. 1 pick; 29th is 13.5%; and 30th is 20%.

As for Duclair, 19, he was playing a game for his junior team, the Quebec Remparts, when he learned of the deal on Sunday afternoon.

“I’m excited, but it came as a surprise,” Duclair said afterward.

A pleasant surprise for Coyotes fans.

And there might be more to come.

“”There’s still deals to be talked about. Stay tuned,” Maloney said.

We certainly will.

BROADWAY BLUESHIRTS ALL IN

Maybe Glen Sather took a look at the wide-open east and told himself: “Let’s go for it.”

Given their moves on Sunday, that’s certainly the direction they are heading in this season.

But, in the process, they’ve pretty much mortgaged the farm.

Along with coughing up a blue-chip prospect in Duclair, the Rangers will be without a first-round pick for four consecutive years after dealing their 2013 first-rounder for Rick Nash, their 2014 and 2015 first-rounders for Martin St. Louis, and now their 2016 first-rounder for Yandle.

Later in the day, the Rangers traded yet another draft pick away, this one a fourth-round selection in 2015 to San Jose for forward James Sheppard.

Sather also shipped forward Lee Stempniak to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for forward Carl Klingberg, a move that cleared up cap space for the Rangers to re-sign forward Mats Zuccarello. Thought to be trade bait as late as Saturday because the two sides were significantly apart in negotiations, Zuccarello reportedly was on the verge of four-year, $18 million extension Sunday night according to the New York Daily News, a sign that the Rangers upped their efforts in the last minute to keep him on board.

In the short term, you could very well argue that the Rangers have made themselves the class of the East entering the playoffs next month, especially on the back end.

Indeed, thanks to Sunday’s addition, it says here the Rangers have the best defence unit in the NHL from one through six. With a blueline group that now includes Yandle. Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Kevin Klein and power play specialist Dan Boyle, this certainly is a formidable defence moving forward.

CAPITAL GAINS

The Washington Capitals picked up some goal-scoring punch by acquiring rent-a-player Curtis Glencross Sunday from the Calgary Flames for a second- and third-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

Upon further review, that’s a very nice job done by Flames GM Brad Treliving, who received a pair of quality picks for a player who had just 28 points this season and is a pending restricted free agent.

Having just placed captain Mark Giardano on IR, trading Glencross opens up cap space in case Treliving chooses to add a defenceman by Monday’s 3 p.m. EST. deadline.

As for the Caps, coach Barry Trotz liked the fact that his group of forwards have been bolstered.

“I think we need to get a little bit deeper at the forward position,” Trotz told reporters in Washington, adding that the addition of Glencross “was a good acquisition.

“Knowing Curtis a little bit from him being in the west, he’s a veteran guy, he’s pretty detailed, has had pretty good success, and I think he’ll fit in really good with us. He’s got a little bit of an edge when he plays and he’s got a little bit of ability to score goals. You can’t have enough of that.”

MOTOR CITY MOVE

Never one to sit back leading up to the trade deadline, Wings GM Ken Holland reached out to his former assistant Jim Nill, now the GM of the Dallas Stars.

The result: The Wings acquired Cole and his 18 goals from Dallas for blueline prospect Mattias Backman, forward Mattias Jarnmark, a third-round pick from 2013 and a second-round pick. Along with Cole, the Wings get a third-round pick that reverts to Dallas if the Wings make it to the Eastern Conference final this spring.

According to various reports, the Wings had also inquired about both the Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul. Given the hefty contracts both players carry, well, Holland isn’t expected to sell the farm for veterans on long-term contracts, putting the potential of such deals in doubt.

CROSS CHECKS

The Carolina Hurricanes signed forward Jay McClement to a two-year, $2.4 million deal on Sunday, thereby taking yet another potential forward off the trade bait market ... Vermette said he was sitting on the plane with his Arizona teammates in Boston Saturday when he was informed that he had been dealt to Chicago ... Keep in mind that, as a pending UFA, Vermette could re-sign with the Coyotes this summer. He very much enjoyed his time in Airzona ... As of Sunday evening, the player still most likely to be moved: Buffalo’s Chris Stewart.

WHO’S LEFT?

With the NHL trade deadline arriving at 3 p.m. eastern Monday, here’s a look at some of the names who were still available as of Sunday evening.

  • - D Jeff Petry (Oilers)
  • - D Zbynek Michalek (Coyotes)
  • - F Chris Stewart (Sabres)
  • - F Tyler Bozak (Leafs)
  • - D Jan Hejda (Avs)
  • - D Marek Zidlicky (Devils)
  • - F Erik Condra (Sens)
  • - D Korbinian Holzer (Leafs)
  • - F Cam Atkinson (Blue Jackets)
  • - D Dion Phaneuf (Leafs)
  • - D Braydon Coburn (Flyer)
  • - F Phil Kessel (Leafs)
  • - F Matt Beleksey (Ducks)
  • - D Roman Polak (Leafs)
  • - G Antti Niemi (Sharks)
  • - D Eric Gryba (Sens)
  • - F Olli Jokinen (Leafs)

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/zeisberger

 


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