July 28: The Yandle contract has been officially announced, at the terms reported. The veteran defenseman released a statement:
Once I became a free agent, the first team that I looked at was the Philadelphia Flyers. 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.
July 27: After being bought out earlier this offseason, Keith Yandle has found a new home. The unrestricted free agent defenseman is expected to sign a one-year, $900K contract with the Philadelphia Flyers according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Friedman adds that it will come with a no-trade clause.
Yandle, 34, is far from the top-pairing option he once was, but did still managed to rack up 27 points this season for the Florida Panthers. Almost all of that production came on the powerplay, a role he may be able to fill in Philadelphia–even if it is the second unit. Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault is familiar with what Yandle can bring from their time in New York with the Rangers, when the puck-moving defenseman tallied 47 points in the 2015-16 season. That total is actually one of the lower amounts in his career; Yandle has recorded more than 50 points in five different seasons.
In fact, at 600 points through 1,032 games, Yandle sits 42nd all-time among NHL defensemen in scoring. Though he likely won’t be seeing the Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done, the veteran has put together an exceptional career to this point. Included in that career is his current streak of 922 consecutive games played, dating back to early 2009. That’s good enough for second all-time behind Doug Jarvis’ 964-game streak, which Yandle could break this season if things go well.
That streak of course does put a little pressure on the Flyers to ice him every night, something that wasn’t going to continue in Florida at his previous cap hit. Philadelphia’s decision to sign him indicates that they may not be entirely comfortable handing over the third pairing role to prospect Cameron York, after restructuring almost their entire blueline this summer. Yandle joins Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen as newcomers to the back end, giving the team an entirely different looking heading into 2021-22.