Many would agree that Keith Yandle wasn’t the catalyst the New York Rangers were hoping for after sending a considerable bounty to the Arizona Coyotes in 2014-15.
That said, a shoulder injury and the confusion of learning a new system may have slowed the offensive defenseman a bit at times, and the 29-year-old provided a cheery outlook to the Bergen Record.
“I was so used to playing a certain system with certain guys,” Yandle said. “You have the freedom to play here and play with guys who are higher skilled and highly competitive. It’s a lot of fun to come to the rink every day. It probably took me a little bit, maybe a couple of weeks before the playoffs, before I felt really comfortable with myself.”
That shoulder issue – an AC separation, according to Yandle – probably made things less comfortable as well, but Yandle avoided off-season surgery.
His first, abbreviated run with the Rangers was pretty bumpy, and that “freedom to play” might open up moments where Yandle draws the ire of fans with flubs.
On the other hand, New York has enjoyed some big bursts from mid-level players in contract years before, so Yandle could be a prime candidate for a significant rebound.
For better or worse, Yandle can be an adventure on the ice. Rangers fans might just enjoy those experiences a little more in 2015-16.