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Coyotes' coach Tippett: Yandle's 'defensive play is still inconsistent'

Matt Kartozian / Reuters

Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle is coming off one of the best offensive seasons of his career, registering eight goals and 45 assists for 53 points - six short of his career-high - while also setting a new bar in shots with 241. While there's no doubting his skills with the puck, head coach Dave Tippett believes the 27-year-old still has some work to do in his own end.

"There's always that risk-reward factor in it," coach Dave Tippett told Sarah McLellan of azcentral. "With Yands, his power-play play this year went to another level, went to a level we hadn't seen before. He took a responsibility for improving our power play and a leadership role and did a very good job. That being said, his defensive play is still — it's inconsistent."

The team's power play ranked fourth in the league with a 19.9 percent success rate, with Yandle 31 of his points on the man advantage. His game left something to be desired at even strength however, as evidence by his team-worst minus-23. It's this aspect of his game that played a large factor in keeping him off Team USA at the Winter Olympics.

"I felt like I took good strides defensively, but it's one of those things you gotta get better every year," Yandle said. "For me, you gotta work harder with it every year."

Yandle has often been the subject of trade rumors in recent years, and his offensive prowess, decent contract (two years left with a $5.25 million annual cap hit) and durability (has not missed a single game in the last five seasons) may entice a team to make a pitch for his services over the summer.

Coyotes' coach Tippett: Yandle's 'defensive play is still inconsistent'
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