Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…
Not long after the Rangers lasted just five games of the postseason, their coach, Alain Vigneault, conceded that they struggled to move the puck in 2015-16.
Vigneault also called the decision on whether to re-sign Yandle a “tough” one — which made a lot of sense, because the 29-year-old defenseman was one of the better puck-movers the Rangers had.
Yandle finished the regular season with five goals and 42 assists. His 47 points ranked fourth on the team. His 20 power-play assists were the fifth most in the NHL among defensemen, tied with John Klingberg and Kevin Shattenkirk.
And that’s why Yandle will be such a hot commodity if he goes to market on July 1. The Boston Bruins, to name just one potential suitor, will almost certainly be interested, assuming they don’t fill their “transitional defenseman” need before then.
Back in January, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said, “Keith is a UFA who stands to do quite well in the market. I’ve had discussions with his agent and we’re gonna see how our team does, how we stack up, and we’ll figure it out from there.”
There’s been nothing much to report on a possible extension since then. And that’s led many to believe that Yandle will indeed test the market.
But there’s still time to get something done. The Rangers are reportedly willing to trade almost anyone on the roster, so their cap situation could change significantly before July 1. If Gorton could find a way to move, say, Marc Staal and his $5.7 million cap hit, that would help.
Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.