Keith Yandle, we hardly knew ye. So what now?
He came, he went and all we got for it as Rangers fans was a lousy tee shirt…or at least that’s how it feels. Keith Yandle‘s negotiating rights were traded away today to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 6th round pick in this year’s draft. If he signs with Florida, Rangers get a 4th round pick in next year’s draft. Whoopty Damn Doo!
In what was a go for broke deal in 2015, the Rangers shipped young promising forward, Anthony Duclair, disappointing defenseman, John Moore and their 1st round pick for Yandle, Chris Summers and a 4th round pick. Just a year and a half later, Yandle is gone.
[su_quote cite=”Tom Rowe via NBC” url=”https://nhl.nbcsports.com/2016/06/20/panthers-gm-acquiring-rights-to-pending-ufa-yandle-was-a-risk-worth-taking/”]“We wouldn’t have made the trade if we weren’t confident we could come to a conclusion and get him into our system,” said Rowe. “I thought it was a risk worth taking given the ability of the player, the way the game’s going and the way we were able to increase our possession numbers under (head coach Gerard Gallant) was real impressive. And we thought adding a player of Keith’s ability was going to make us that much more a playoff team and a serious contender going forward.”[/su_quote]
It never really panned out in NY for Yandle. Sure, he had a great 1st pass out of the zone and was excellent at moving the puck, but he was soft in front of his own net. On the PP, he had vision and sadly a shot that wouldn’t break a pane of glass. Maybe if the Rangers had a real finisher up front, there would have been more success for Yandle. It also would have helped if Alain Vigneault wasn’t so damn stubborn, taking nearly half the season to put Yandle on the top power play unit as well.
In 103 regular season games, he scored 7 goals and 58 points for the Blueshirts. He had a terrible 3.4 shooting percentage in NY, almost a full 2 points less than his career average of 5. Top defensemen like Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, Erik Karlsson and Dustin Byfuglein usually shoot in the 6’s and up. For what Yandle is likely to get on the open market (6+), maybe the Rangers could spend their money more wisely elsewhere.
When it counted most, Yandle put up only 12 points in 24 NYR playoff games and was a basic no show against the Penguins with just 1 goal and a -4 rating. This past playoffs was probably just the icing on cake for GM, Jeff Gorton and Head Coach, Alain Vigneault to decide to move on.
The problem here is that the Rangers still lack a PP QB and top puck moving defenseman. Ryan McDonagh can do those things, but he is not at the caliber of the top blue-liners in the league just yet. To me that signals at least an earnest attempt to find that defenseman at some point this summer.
There are some rumblings about a Rick Nash deal to Anaheim for Cam Fowler. The Ducks are looking to move him and if Nash has Anaheim on his list it could be a start. Fowler is on the books for 4M AAV through the 2017-18 season. The 24 year old d-man is 6’1″ and 207 pounds. He has offensive ability as well and a decent shot from the point. Fowler has 17 PPG in his career and shoots around 6%. If that’s a possible deal involving Nash, I can live with it. Gorton also has his eyes on Kevin Shattenkirk, but so do 6 other teams and that’s probably going to make that an impossible deal to get done. We will have more on that this week.
So here we are, Yandle-less and much worse, Duclair-less. Still, there is a slim possibility that the Rangers make all the moves they can by July 1st and sign Yandle anyway, but the odds are likely slim. Actually, you’d be just kidding yourself, so it is best to move on.
Hey! At least the Rangers still have Chris Summers. WOOHOO!