Keith Yandle reflects on losing in the playoffs, improving Coyotes defense

keithyandle1.jpgThe rise of Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle last season could be described as meteoric. Flying under the radar as a virtually unknown player for his first three seasons in the NHL, Yandle emerged as one of the Coyotes top blue liners last season even earning himself a spot on Team USA during the 2010 World Championships.

The Arizona Republic’s Jim Gintonio talked to Yandle about how last season that saw spirits rise in Arizona for the Coyotes ended with a tough loss in seven games to the Detroit Red Wings.

The defense was a strong suit last season as the Coyotes advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The season ended with a crushing loss to Detroit in Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs.

“You do look back a little on it,” Yandle said. “We had a good season, and you want to build on it, carry it into the this coming season. “I think it’s important to look back a little bit and see what you did right and see what you did ring, and try to build on that.

“But also you’ve got to concentrate on things you need to do to get better for this season.”

If Yandle can continue his upward trend in play, the Coyotes back line is looking pretty solid. Ed Jovanovski, Adrian Aucoin, Derek Morris and Yandle make up a solid first four. Sami Lepisto along with competitors for the sixth spot like rookie Oliver Ekman-Larsson will help the Coyotes stay steady on defense. If the Coyotes are going to continue to be studly this season, those guys are going to have to remain vigilant in their commitment to coach Dave Tippett’s system.

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    Vegas has 15 d-men, but won’t keep them all

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    The Vegas Golden Knights suddenly have 15 defensemen.

    Just don’t expect all 15 to remain Knights for long.

    “We’re going to have to move some defensemen,” general manager George McPhee said Tuesday, “because we’re going to claim a bunch.”

    So, who might get flipped?

    Well, a highly touted youngster like Shea Theodore, acquired in a trade with Anaheim, is unlikely to go. Theodore, 21, could be a core member of the Knights for years to come.

    Deryk Engelland probably won’t be going anywhere either. He just signed a one-year contract with the Knights, and he already has ties to Sin City.

    But a 32-year-old like Marc Methot? He could be dealt. The Dallas Stars are reportedly quite interested.

    A few others could be on the move, too, but we’ll have to wait to find out which ones.

    Here’s the full list of d-men that officially became Vegas property today:

    Jake Bischoff
    Deryk Engelland
    Alexei Emelin
    Jason Garrison
    Brayden McNabb
    Jon Merrill
    Marc Methot
    Colin Miller
    Luca Sbisa
    David Schlemko
    Griffin Reinhart
    Nate Schmidt
    Clayton Stoner
    Shea Theodore
    Trevor van Riemsdyk

    Vegas Golden Knights name their team

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    The Vegas Golden Knights are taking shape.

    After completing a cavalcade of trades, the Knights picked 30 players from each existing NHL team in today’s expansion draft. Vegas was obligated to select at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies.

    The players were announced in reverse order from last season’s standings.

    From the Avalanche: Calvin Pickard (G)

    From the Canucks: Luca Sbisa (D)

    From the Coyotes: Teemu Pulkkinen (F)

    From the Devils: Jon Merrill (D)

    From the Sabres: William Carrier (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires 2017 sixth-round draft pick

    From the Red Wings: Tomas Nosek (F)

    From the Stars: Cody Eakin (F)

    From the Panthers: Jonathan Marchessault (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Reilly Smith (F), Panthers receive 2018 fourth-round draft pick

    From the Kings: Brayden McNabb (D)

    From the Hurricanes: Connor Brickley (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires 2017 fifth-round draft pick

    From the Jets: Chris Thorburn (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires 2017 first-round draft pick and 2019 third-round draft pick, Jets get 2017 first-round pick (acquired by Vegas from CBJ)

    From the Flyers: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (F)

    From the Lightning: Jason Garrison (D)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Nikita Gusev (F), 2017 second-round pick, 2018 fourth-round pick

    From the Islanders: Jean-Francois Berube (G)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Mikhail Grabovski (F), Jake Bischoff (D), 2017 first-round draft pick, 2019 second-round draft pick

    From the Predators: James Neal (F)

    From the Flames: Deryk Engelland (D)
    Signing: Engelland gets one-year contract with AAV of $1 million

    From the Maple Leafs: Brendan Leipsic (F)

    From the Bruins: Colin Miller (D)

    From the Senators: Marc Methot (D)

    From the Sharks: David Schlemko (D)

    From the Blues: David Perron (F)

    From the Rangers: Oscar Lindberg (F)

    From the Oilers: Griffin Reinhart (D)

    From the Canadiens: Alexei Emelin (D)

    From the Ducks: Clayton Stoner (D)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Shea Theodore (D)

    From the Wild: Erik Haula (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Alex Tuch (F), Wild get third-round draft pick in 2017 or 2018
    Signing: Haula gets three-year contract worth AAV of $2.75 million

    From the Blue Jackets: William Karlsson (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires David Clarkson (F), 2017 first-round draft pick, 2019 second-round draft pick

    From the Blackhawks: Trevor van Riemsdyk (D)

    From the Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury (G)
    Trade: Vegas acquires second-round draft pick in 2020

    From the Capitals: Nate Schmidt (D)

    ROSTER BY POSITION
    Forwards:
    Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
    Connor Brickley
    William Carrier
    David Clarkson
    Cody Eakin
    Mikhail Grabovski
    Nikita Gusev
    Erik Haula
    William Karlsson
    Brendan Leipsic
    Oscar Lindberg
    Jonathan Marchessault
    James Neal
    Tomas Nosek
    David Perron
    Teemu Pulkkinen
    Reilly Smith
    Chris Thorburn
    Alex Tuch

    Defensemen:
    Jake Bischoff
    Deryk Engelland
    Alexei Emelin
    Jason Garrison
    Brayden McNabb
    Jon Merrill
    Marc Methot
    Colin Miller
    Luca Sbisa
    David Schlemko
    Griffin Reinhart
    Nate Schmidt
    Clayton Stoner
    Shea Theodore
    Trevor van Riemsdyk

    Goalies:
    Jean-Francois Berube
    Marc-Andre Fleury
    Calvin Pickard

    After stockpiling picks, Vegas aims to ‘draft our way to success’

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    On Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena, the Las Vegas Golden Knights took form.

    But there’s no denying this team will really take shape at the next couple of entry drafts.

    That was the big storyline this evening, as Golden Knights GM George McPhee introduced his 30-man roster, almost in the shadow of an unprecedented stockpiling of draft picks from rival clubs.

    “[The objective] was to acquire prospects and surplus draft picks that can help draft our way to success,” McPhee explained. “Time will tell if we met those objectives, but we’re certainly delighted with the way that it went.

    “It was a fascinating experience.”

    We’ll get to see the fruits of McPhee’s labor shortly. When the dust settled this evening, he and the Golden Knights emerged with three top-15 picks in Friday’s first round of the draft — the sixth, which Vegas won in the lottery, the 13th, acquired in a trade with Winnipeg, and the 15th, acquired from the New York Islanders.

    In addition to that, the Golden Knights also received:

    • Buffalo’s sixth-round pick on Friday (as part of drafting William Carrier)

    • Carolina’s fifth-round pick on Friday (as part of drafting Connor Brickley)

    • Tampa Bay’s second-round pick on Friday, and the Bolts’ fourth-rounder in 2018 (for laying off the club’s young d-men, and taking Jason Garrison)

    • The Islanders’ second-round pick in 2019 (for taking on Mikhail Grabovski, in addition to the first-rounder listed above)

    • Columbus’ second-round pick in 2019 (for not taking Josh Anderson or Joonas Korpisalo, also in addition to the deal above)

    • Winnipeg’s third-round pick in 2019 (for taking Chris Thorburn instead of Tobias Enstrom, and also in addition to the above deal)

    • Pittsburgh’s second-round pick in 2020 (as part of drafting Marc-Andre Fleury)

    Add it all up, and the Knights now have 12 picks at the upcoming draft in Chicago, with five of them coming in the first two rounds. It’ll result in a huge influx of talent and, given the relatively thin nature of the active roster, a real chance for the kids selected on Friday to have a shot at NHL minutes in the fall.

    But remember — until these picks have been used, they’re assets. And that’s worth mentioning, because the league-wide trade freeze lifts at 8 a.m. ET Thursday morning.

    Stay tuned.

    Connor McDavid captures the Hart Trophy (video)

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    Only one player in the National Hockey League scored 100 points this season. That would be Connor McDavid.

    He accomplished the feat at the age of 20.

    On Wednesday, after such a terrific sophomore season in which he was fully healthy throughout, he was recognized with the Hart Trophy , given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team.

    McDavid scored 30 goals, many in spectacular fashion, and 100 points to win the Art Ross, often showing a dominant display of speed and hands quick enough to keep up.

    The Oilers made the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2006, making it to Game 7 of the second round against the Anaheim Ducks..

    McDavid beats out Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who has been perhaps the best player in the world over the last two years with Stanley Cups, Conn Smythe trophies and a Rocket Richard Trophy to show for it, and Columbus Blue Jackets Vezina-winning netminder Sergei Bobrovsky for the award.

    McDavid also captured the Ted Lindsay Award earlier in the evening.

    Here is the Hart Trophy voting:

    Points: (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)

    1. Connor McDavid, EDM 1604 (147-17-3-0-0)
    2. Sidney Crosby, PIT 1104 (14-119-19-11-3)
    3. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ 469 (4-17-40-29-23)
    4. Brent Burns, SJS 273 (1-3-25-29-30)
    5. Erik Karlsson, OTT 258 (0-5-28-23-14)
    6. Patrick Kane, CHI 206 (0-3-20-20-25)
    7. Brad Marchand, BOS 184 (1-1-14-22-31)
    8. Nikita Kucherov, TBL 119 (0-0-11-15-19)
    9. Nicklas Backstrom, WSH 60 (0-0-3-11-12)
    10. Braden Holtby, WSH 19 (0-0-2-3-0)
    11. Auston Matthews, TOR 17 (0-0-2-1-4)
    12. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 7 (0-1-0-0-0)
    Ryan Suter, MIN 7 (0-1-0-0-0)
    14. Victor Hedman, TBL 5 (0-0-0-1-2)
    15. Devan Dubnyk, MIN 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
    Vladimir Tarasenko, STL 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
    17. Cam Atkinson, CBJ 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
    Cam Talbot, EDM 1 (0-0-0-0-1)