Billy Hurst/Associated Press
The Florida Panthers acquired the negotiating rights to New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle on Monday, potentially adding a veteran presence to a team that features numerous young stars.
George Richards of the Miami Herald was among the first to report the news.
The Rangers received a sixth-round pick, plus a conditional fourth-rounder in 2017 if Yandle signs with Florida, per TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Yandle is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, where he would be one of the most coveted defensemen on the market.
The Rangers confirmed the trade and its terms on Twitter.
Yandle, 29, has been one of the better offensive blueliners in hockey over the past eight seasons. He put up at least 40 points in all but one of those campaigns, with the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season being the exception.
Florida has two-time All-Star Aaron Ekblad, who is only 20, on its defense. It also has over $26 million in cap space, so it could afford to sign Yandle.
The Panthers won the Atlantic Division in 2015-16 before losing to the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs. The team has a nice blend of young talent with 20-year-old Sasha Barkov, Ekblad and 23-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau to go with veterans such as Jaromir Jagr and goaltender Roberto Luongo, so throwing in Yandle would make sense for a team that could compete for a Stanley Cup next season.
Richards added that the Yandle move could force more defensive turnover for the Panthers:
If #FlaPanthers do sign Keith Yandle (and Brian Campbell as expected) Dmitry Kulikov would definitely be in play. Hear team is shopping.
— –George Richards– (@GeorgeRichards) June 20, 2016
Florida also traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson on May 25.
New York sacrificed a considerable amount to get Yandle in 2015, trading a 2016 first-round pick, a 2015 second-round pick, promising winger Anthony Duclair and defenseman John Moore.
Yandle produced 58 points in 103 regular-season games for the Rangers and 12 points in 24 playoff contests. The team reached the Eastern Conference Final in 2015 before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round this past April.
Duclair, 20, scored 44 points in his first NHL season with the Arizona Coyotes last year.
The team also traded its 2015 first-round pick in 2014 for Martin St. Louis, who helped the team reach the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings.
Adam Herman of SB Nation’s Blueshirt Banter compared the results of the two trades:
It’s process vs result. The process behind MSL trade was good despite sub-optimal result. Yandle trade was poorly thought out from the start
— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) June 20, 2016
New York does not have many assets to build its future with in coming drafts due largely to the Yandle trade, and it did not get much return, according to Mike Darney of SB Nation’s Pensburgh:
The Rangers trade so many 1st round picks, that Keith Yandle is gone (from a trade 2 yrs ago) before the Coyotes could make the 1st rd pick
— Mike Darnay (@MikeDarnay) June 20, 2016
This is a low-risk move for a Panthers team that is clearly making a push to win in the immediate future, while the trade marks the end of a disappointing transaction for the Rangers.
Statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com.
Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com.