Keith Yandle’s Family Decision

Yandle (L) celebrates with McDonagh (R) (Image: JULIO CORTEZ/AP)

Let me preface this piece by saying I have no idea what Keith Yandle is thinking or what New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has planned for this upcoming offseason. What I do have is an understanding of what Keith Yandle will be MOST concerned about and what his decision will truly be about: Family.

When reached for comment, Yandle’s agent Jerry Buckley told FullTilt Rangers, “At this point Keith’s sole focus is on the playoffs and helping the Rangers win.”

While Keith is focused on the playoffs, he is also focused on his family.

Go ahead and roll your eyes. Let out a deep sigh. Even toss in a chuckle. Yeah, no kidding Ryan! Family! Duh! We all know that!

Do you? Do you know what it’s like to be closing in on 30 years old? Do you know what it’s like to be closing in on 30 years old and being married? Do you know what its like to be closing in on 30 years old, being married, and being a parent?

Perhaps some of you can relate. Perhaps some of you are mature enough to understand. The rest of you?

I know what its like.

In fact, I can practically relate. I will be 30 exactly 5 days before Keith. I’m also married and a parent to 3 beautiful kids. I, too, held down a dream job. My family, however, needed something else. They needed to be somewhere else. That meant I had to leave my dream job. My path to the top of my dream job suddenly shattered and tossed into life’s incinerator; never to be seen or heard from again.

But, that was okay. I never balked at it. Never thought twice about it. Never looked back. Just as sudden as my dream job was gone, we were on the road from D.C to NJ to stay.

What does all of that have to do with Keith Yandle? He, too, has a family decision to make. And while its easy to suggest he will leave for the highest bidder or assume the Rangers can’t make room for him, the decision isn’t as clear cut as some make it out to be.

When told he would not be traded, Keith Yandle told Steve Zipay of Newsday, “Kind of a weight off the shoulders, probably more so for my wife and kids.” He would go on to say, “To know the organization believes in me and likes having me around, it meant a lot.” And when asked if he would like to remain with the Blueshirts, “Yeah, I hope so . . . I love playing here.”

Now, you could easily counter with something along the lines of, what else is he supposed to say? That’s fair but for now, I will take it at face value.

This is still only one piece to a complicated puzzle in keeping Keith Yandle in Gotham.

Jeff Gorton has his work cut out for him this offseason. As much as we all would like Keith Yandle to sign a team friendly deal, the question realistically becomes, how can the NYR afford to keep Keith Yandle; that’s a post for another day.

Keith Yandle is a top pairing defenseman. Analytics will tell you a deeper story as to why he is a top pairing defenseman. But this isn’t a story about Keith Yandle’s analytics, this is a story about the decision Keith Yandle is facing this summer. This is a story about family.


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