Kevin Weekes first reported the news of Yandle signing a one-year deal in Philadelphia. Elliotte Friedman followed that up by reporting a $900,000 salary and no-trade clause.
Yandle to PHI — 1 year, $900K, NTC. Forgot he has played for Vigneault, so knows the coach.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 27, 2021
The Flyers made the signing official on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are excited to add Keith to our team,” said Fletcher. “He is an established veteran defenseman who excels moving the puck and playing on the power play. He is a true professional who comes ready to play every night.”
“Once I became a free agent, the first team that I looked at was the Philadelphia Flyers,” Yandle said. “Obviously, having AV before and playing with Kevin Hayes helped my decision. What Chuck (Fletcher) has done this off season bringing in guys and putting the team in a place where it gives us the opportunity to succeed is a big thing for me. I know for me, all I want to do is win and coming to the Flyers gives me the best chance for that.”
Yandle, 34 (9/9/1986), will be embarking on his 16th NHL season. He brings 1,032 games of NHL experience to the Flyers defense corps and will start the season with a streak of 922 consecutive games played, which is second in NHL history. He needs 43 games to pass Doug Jarvis for the NHL’s all-time record. Yandle has recorded at least 40 points in 10 of the last 12 seasons, with the only exceptions coming in last year’s 56-game campaign and the 48-game season in 2012-13.
The 6-1, 192-lb blueliner most recently played for the Florida Panthers, where he recorded three goals and 24 assists for 27 points over 56 games last season. Prior to joining the Panthers, Yandle played for Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault with the New York Rangers for parts of two seasons. He was a trade-deadline acquisition by the Rangers from the Arizona Coyotes on March 1, 2015, joining a Rangers squad that went on to win the Presidents’ Trophy and reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
Yandle spent his first eight-plus seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, making his NHL debut during the 2006-07 season. A three-time NHL All-Star (2011, 2012, 2019), Yandle has career totals of 102 goals and 498 assists for 600 points. The native of Boston, MA was selected by Arizona in the fourth round (105th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Last season, Yandle had 27 points (three goals, 24 assists) in 56 games with the Panthers. He had 45 points in 69 games the year prior, and 62 points in 82 games the year before that.
Yandle also took a hit in ice time last season, playing 17:15 per game as opposed to 19:42 in the 2019-20 season. In the three years before that, he played over 22 minutes a game. But that may have helped Yandle as his on-ice metrics were positive relative to his teammates for the first time as a member of the Panthers (five seasons).
You can’t go wrong at a $900,000 cap hit for Yandle. As Friedman mentioned, Yandle played for Alain Vigneault with the New York Rangers at the end of the 2014-15 season and the whole 2015-16 season. That familiarity should help Yandle on and off the ice.
Yandle will likely slot in as a depth option on the Flyers. Top prospect Cameron York was pencilled into the left-defenseman role on the third pair. However, this move now gives York a chance to develop properly, whether it be at the AHL or NHL level. The veteran defenseman will also help out on the power play.
If York impresses, Yandle’s cap hit is low enough to make a healthy scratch or bury. If York needs some time, Yandle is there to not only fill the gap but perhaps provide some veteran knowledge as well.
Photo: Heather Barry Images