Coyotes GM: Keith Yandle trade rumors 'pure, utter fantasy'

Like nearly everyone else who follows hockey, Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney had heard trade rumors that he was shopping talented defenseman Keith Yandle.

“I hope it wasn’t Keith starting them, that was my only concern,” Maloney told Sporting News with a laugh.

General managers typically don’t get in the business of shooting down rumors, because that alone can become a full-time job. But Maloney made an exception for this one.

“Listen, that was just pure, utter fantasy. Keith is an important part of our future. He knows it,” Maloney said. “Not that anybody can’t be traded … But it would have to be something very special.”

Maloney had coffee with Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli in Ottawa, perhaps sparking the trade talk that centers on the Bruins. Yandle, 24, hasn’t spoken with Maloney about the rumors and has blocked out the distraction by remembering the simple math that goes with rumors.

“I would say 10 percent of them come true,” Yandle said Thursday.

And that’s being generous.

Yandle, a Boston native, is coming off a breakout season in which he had 12 goals and 41 points. He is being paid a reasonable $1.3 million this season and can become a restricted free agent this summer.

Maloney said he spoke with Yandle’s agent about a contract extension in the offseason, but things are on hold until the Coyotes’ ownership situation stabilizes. Plus, Yandle is a difficult player to place a value on at this point of his career.

“We want to see how he plays. He had a real good productive year last year. If he can build on that, he’s probably worth X. If he doesn’t, he’s probably worth Y,” Maloney said. “He’s still evolving.”

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