Canucks Army Free Agent Profiles: Keith Yandle

Acquired by the New York Rangers in advance of the 2015 trade deadline, Keith Yandle has yet to live up to his billing as one of the league’s premier puck-movers and offensive defenceman in the city that never sleeps. It’s looking less and less likely that he’ll have the opportunity to next season, too. 

According to Larry Brooks of The New York Post, the Rangers are likely to do their due diligence on finding a way to create a fit within their salary structure. It just doesn’t sound as though there are enough dollars, or openings, to make it the sensible decision.

Though the relationship Yandle has shared with the Rangers for a season-plus has fallen short of expectations for everyone involved, disappointment is a relative term though and this is still a premier offensive defender. Though the Canucks acquisition of Erik Gudbranson addresses their patchwork blue line if only so slightly, there is still room for a player with Yandle’s pedigree and poise moving the puck.

HERO Chart:

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Career Statistics:

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(Image from www.TSN.ca)

The Scouting Report:

Yandle’s struggles defending are well documented, though likely overblown — his defensive value more than makes up for his defensive impact. Regardless, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that Yandle has been one of the league’s most productive defensemen over the course of six-plus seasons. Only Erik Karlsson and Duncan Keith have produced more offence from the blue line than Yandle and his 325 points since the beginning of the 2009-10 season.

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Beyond Yandle’s most obviously positive quality as a point producer, he’s an excellent puck mover. While I haven’t added the cumulative totals for every Rangers game I’ve tracked, I can tell you with the utmost certainty that Yandle was a strongly positive force in transition, with an abnormally high number of carry-in entries at even-strength. Based on Dimitri Filipovic’s findings for the post-season, it appears as though he’s every bit as proficient at defending the neutral zone as advancing play through it.

The Fit:

Assuming everything remains constant, the Canucks will enter next season with eight defenceman who will either be on one-way deals or require waivers to play in the AHL. Something’s got to give. Likely by way of trade, but finding a suitor for some of these middling pieces will prove difficult. Vancouver would only exacerbate this problem with the addition of another defenceman — though they seem content to entertain the possibility of retaining pending unrestricted free agent, Dan Hamhuis.

If the goal is to add the best defenceman, Hamhuis isn’t the most suitable option on the open market. In fact, one could reasonably argue that Yandle is entirely deserving of that distinction. Like Hamhuis, Yandle is a left-shot, that plays the left side. The Canucks appear set though with Luca Sbisa, Ben Hutton and Alexander Edler occupying positions on that flank — which says nothing of Andrey Pedan, who is himself waiver eligible.

Financially the Canucks are in a position to compete for Yandle’s services assuming he hits market. It’s fair to wonder even if the Rangers misuse and generally poor deployment of Yandle have taken a significant chunk of change out of his new deal. I wouldn’t expect anything more than $6-million or less than $5-million all the same. The Canucks can afford that. They just have to decide if that’s an area of need worth prioritizing in the form of dollars and term.

Conclusion

Yandle represents a darkhorse candidate for the Canucks in free agency, but that says little of his quality as a defenceman. The Canucks have a logjam on the blue line, particularly on the left side. There will be logistical hurdles aplenty if the Canucks aim to land the prize free agent defenceman. Perhaps they trade one of Sbisa or Pedan, though I would suggest that’s highly unlikely.

All this is to say that while Yandle represents a sizeable upgrade on any non-Edler defender on the left side of the Canucks defence, they might not be able to accommodate the upgrade. It’s a shame, though, because his skating ability matches with some of what Matt Bartkowski offered — except without the constant blunders and with added offence. 

    • Ragnarok Ouroboros

      If you are being Satirical then well done sir, you made me chortle gustily.

      But if you truly believe Kris Russell is a Heart and Soul player, then feel the shame of the derisive snort I sent your way. What balderdash…

    • Ho Borvat

      If Benning can get a 2nd rounder for Edler then by all means pick up Yandle to replace him. Getting a quality free agent and a draft pick back would be fine with me. Again, I worry about term more than $ in this case.

      • Ho Borvat

        Edler probably gets a decent return from a contender, a contender who thinks they may not get a UFA dman this July (like Gillis thought when he paid a 1st, grabner, bernier for Ballard), and of course Edler would waive his NTC to.

        Detroit was always after Eddie, they wanted to draft him big time as well.

        We could snag one of their wingers, prospect, pick.

  • Yandle is not the right fit. Good defenseman though.

    Jim Benning has a difficult decision to make. What to do with Andrey Pedan. Pedan is a RFA, needs more development time according to his recent use, and has to clear waivers if he returns to Utica.

    Option #1 – Keep him on the big team as our #7D. Have our trainers work with him, to develop his skills and earn Willies trust.

    Option #2 – Trade him.

    Option #3 – This is NOT an option. Try to “sneak” him through waivers. IMO Andrey won’t clear and we lose him for nothing. This can not happen. Think Corrado. Canucks army blows up, followed by angry mobs roaming our streets. We can’t lose him for nothing.

    Option #1 is my pick. Andrey Pedan is one of my favorite Canucks.

    • Ho Borvat

      I think they will go for option #1.
      Benning was huge on Pedan when he traded for him. And yes I do believe that angry mobs will chase Benning down with burning torches if he lets Pedan slip away on the waiver wire. And I do believe part of the “experiment” to see if he could be converted to a forward was because they knew they would be in this pickle entering training camp in September and were looking for options to keep him around. Pedan will not clear waivers.

  • ClayBort

    We need this guy our pplay sucked and our dmen could not move the puck for our forwards edler has not been the same since his back injury. Hutton is still young. We have not had a guy like this since erhoff and losing him our pp and offense from the back has just sputtered since he left.

  • ClayBort

    Canucks Army would be the most laughable mob roaming the streets that could be imagined. A drunken, octagenerian hobo would be more threatening.

    On Yandle, there’s just no spot for the guy.

  • Ho Borvat

    Canucks have lots of cap room. Pick up Yandle and Eriksson, they become a playoff team. They could even do some damage if they see some progression from Horvat, Baertschi, Hutton and Virtanen.

    There is reasonable balance in the lineup age wise — a nice mix of veterans and young guns. Some up and comers in the form of the #5 pick, Boeser, and Subban.

    While I’m not opposed to a rebuild, is loading up really so bad?

  • Hockey Warrior

    Great to see CA following my lead once again with another fantastic shout on UFA’s… KEITH YANDLE!

    Again, like Looch, another no brainer for the elite hockey mind, a category i humbly fall into, a rare opportunity here to axquire an elite top pairing Defenceman – YANDLE leads my blueline corps in this years free agent frenzy hands down.

    You only have to LOOK at the Stanley Cup Final to know that, as Benning has already admitted, you CANNOT challenge for the holy grail without a top notch puck carrying D-man with offensive/PP upside.

    Pitts has Letang
    San Jose has Burns

    LA has Doughty
    Chicago has Keith
    Boston has Chara

    Vancouver has Alex ‘frickin’ Edler or is it now ANDREY PEDAN!!!??? LOL

    Before the usual blowhards come on talking about ‘play the kids’ the ‘five year plan’, ‘too expensive’, ‘doesnt wear the right aftershave’ bla bla bla realise this – two years ago the Sharks got ousted in the 1st round, last year they didn’t make the playoffs… this year with minimal yet SMART changes, a new coach and BRETT BURNS stepping up they are IN THE FINAL…

    Calling KEITH YANDLE, your taxi is here – dropping off at PAT QUINN WAY!!!

    Know it and BELIEVE it :p

    • I think you may have taken over NoMind00’s title…I didn’t think it’d be possible…but you could be the world’s biggest idiot. Congrats.

      I love your post how you chastise Benning one minute and then back him the next.

      Hockey Warthog, have you stopped taking your meds?

  • Dirty30

    Sign Yandle and send Sbisa down.

    Sure, you might lose him for nothing — you gain salary and a roster spot. Most of all you gain an appreciable upgrade in skill on the D. You can then look at restructuring your deployment for maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

    Might even manage a low-grade trade for an AHL’r to give another team some depth at D.

    This calls for some Courvoisier and Barry White on the turntable!

  • dtriemstra

    I am all for the Yankdle signing if it does happen! Canucks would have to say goodbye to Hamhuis though. Love the guy but business is business and FYI … to everyone’s hate … the Canucks are in it for the playoffs! Signing Yandle and one of Eriksson or Okposo would be absolutely huge! And I believe it would actually stabilize this organization for years to come. If Yandle signs on the dotted line … then yes there is a log jam. Apparently the city would burn if Pedan is put on waivers and what about Philip Larsen? Benning gave up a 5th round pick to sign him. All this means that Sbisa gets traded for a late pick and possible salary retained while Hamhuis, as I said, is going bye-bye. Waiver wire for Larsen and Biega then?

    Defense would like:

    Edler & Tanev …. Yandle & Gudbranson …. Hutton & Tryamkin …. then Pedan

    FYI…I’m still on the trade Edler boat.

    • Ryan Biech

      Yeah only reason I said to trade Edler, to get assets back and then sign Yandle (the better QB type) is the expansion draft, as I believe we can only protect 3 dmen, then the 2 years of pro experience and under are protected.

  • Dirty30

    Absolutely not. We have Sbisa and Gudbranson, which combines for a cap hit totaling $7M+ and good for about 20 points. This trumps Yandle and his $5.5M and 45-50 points. Canucks would have to be insane to sign him. I mean, we’re not even giving up a 2nd or 3rd pick. What is this nonsense?

  • Ryan Biech

    Sick, delusional Canuck fans treating free agency like a grocery store…

    It is best to appreciate Yandle from afar.

    Because when given the choice between all 30 NHL teams, there is little to no reason for him to pick Vancouver when they are rebuilding…

    • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

      It must be sad to have so little in life. When your purpose is to troll a blog and act like a child. I’ve always seen you as a sick, pathetic ignorant idiot. Perhaps I should just pity you instead…I don’t know…

      Anyway, Yandle would be too expensive to add and our developing talent isn’t ready for prime time.

    • Andy

      Your writing style may be confrontational and derisive, but I’ll give you credit where credit is due.

      Short of a dump truck full of money for more years than every other courting team, I’m less concerned with what we have to offer Yandle, rather than the other way around.

  • DrChill

    If possible signing Yandle long term would give the Canucks a few options

    1) sign Yandle and trade Edler for youth up front!
    Yandle Tanev
    Hutton Gud
    Sbisa Tramkin

    2) Sign Yandle and push Hutton to third pairing and drop Sbisa off team, maybe trade to oilers for something small. All of a sudden our defence is a strength again
    Edler Tanev
    Yandle Gud
    Hutton Tramkin

    Either way Yandle on our powerplay is huge addition for the future and long term. If we can sign a Yandle this is the most no brained to me as a UFA signing.

    • dtriemstra

      I guess you know you have arrived when someone impersonates you on a blog. Last comment was not me. But I guess imitation is the highest form of flattery.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Interesting…

    I never thought I’d see the day that a troll of Hockey Warrior’s caliber would come along and actually make me crave the relative sanity of NM00.

    Cageyvet is correct: Not only does this guy live under a bridge and turn to stone when exposed to sunlight, but I’m not sure if he says the things he says to be THAT obnoxious or he legitimately can’t tell the obvious difference between the real life NHL and “NHL 201X” on PlayStation. Either way, it contributes little in the way of perspective or laughs.

    Paging JD Burke: some moderation, please.

  • Dirty30

    Am I the only one kind of enjoying the irony of Ted and NM00 saying the same thing but despising the others approach nonetheless?

    It’s a challenge to be singular in this day and age.

    Please gentlemen, don’t ever change.

  • crofton

    To all the posters who advocate trading Edler, lest you forget, he has a NTC. Kinda hard to trade anyone with one of those.
    And to anyone interested, my real posts have my user name in green, I suggest others having the same spoofing (is that what it is?) create an account for themselves. Billy Pilgrim ? Just a heads up.