Make no mistake about it – Glen Sather let it all hang out at the trade deadline. His moves scream, “WE WANT THE CUP” and come this June the Rangers may complete the objective.
Keith Yandle is not only a good defenseman, he is a premiere player who will immediately bolster the Rangers defense and power play. While the hope was that Dan Boyle would be able to quarterback the man advantage in NY, it hasn’t come to fruition.
I reached out to MSG Analyst, Steve Valiquette for his take. “Yandle will quarter back the first unit and dominate as he slides across the blue line in constant movement as good as anybody in the league,” Valiquette said. “I suspect that he will be playing with Girardi in the top pair, slotting everyone’s ice time a little more evenly.”
An interesting take for sure, as Girardi will certainly be the stay at home defender of the unit. Ryan McDonagh or Marc Staal may switch sides for a formidable second unit with Dan Boyle and Kevin Klein as the bottom pairing.
Note: Last night, the top pairing of Girardi/McDonagh stayed intact. Yandle juggled on the bottom four playing often with Kevin Klein.
Alain Vigneault will speak later today, as will Yandle and Sather so we will learn more in the afternoon. As far as Steve Valiquette is concerned, “Rangers have the best D in the league as a group in my opinion.”
Keith Yandle is the key man on the Yotes power play unit that ranks 5th in the league. The 28 year old lefty has 41 points, good for 10th in the NHL for all blue liners. He was a workhorse in Arizona logging big minutes but he will not be leaned on so heavily here.
Valiquette’s scouting report on Yandle is this, “He is a fantastic skater that can escape coverage and carry the puck by himself through all three zones.” Another key that Valiquette points out is that Yandle is “an excellent first pass D man that because of his high end effortless speed can create holes and open new seam passes.” That ability is key and fits into Alain Vigneault’s system perfectly.
So much of AV’s offense depends on quick transition and the first pass out of the zone by the defense. If executed well, it springs the Rangers speedy and skilled forwards in transition.
Still how is Yandle the teammate? “I spoke to three of Yandle’s former teammates yesterday and and he’s a really well liked guy in the locker room,” Valiquette said.”He’s a very popular guy that I’m told will be loved by his new teammates in NY.”
As far as Yandle wanting to be here, when he heard he was traded to the Rangers he said he was “pumped.” Keith learned of the deal at a birthday party and told Sportsnet 590 “Donny (Maloney) called me and told me that a deal was done and I was pretty excited to be going to New York with how good of a team they are it was pretty special.”
Maloney himself was excited to acquire Anthony Duclair after the magic he and Max Domi shared at the World Junior Championships. However, he knows what a game changer Keith Yandle will be to the Rangers. “I think Keith could be the final piece of a Stanley Cup-winning team,” Maloney said.
The Rangers are going for it, of that there is no doubt. Glen Sather is not shy on pulling the trigger on blockbusters and he did it again. Keith Yandle is easily the biggest name moved at this deadline and the Rangers got him. Now it’s time to get the Cup.