NHL Free Agency: The three best fits for defenseman Keith Yandle

Keith Yandle #3 of the Florida Panthers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Keith Yandle #3 of the Florida Panthers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Keith Yandle (3)
Keith Yandle #3 of the Florida Panthers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

These are the three best landing spots for defenseman Keith Yandle.

NHL Free Agency opens on Wednesday, July 28 and there will be a plethora of players to keep an eye on as all 32 teams get ready to bolster their rosters, and it will be interesting to see where Keith Yandle ends up.

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The veteran blueliner was bought out of his contract by the Florida Panthers earlier this offseason, which had two years remaining with an Average Annual Value of $6,350,000, and he will now be free to sign with any team.

Yandle hitting the open market comes in the wake of a rocky 2020-21 season with the Florida Panthers, which began with the 34-year-old facing the very real threat of seeing his incredible ironman streak come to an end as new Panthers General Manager Bill Zito flirted with the possibility of making Yandle a healthy scratch to start the season.

However, the backlash by that decision prompted Zito and Florida Head Coach Joel Quinneville to revert course and Yandle went on to record 27 points (3 G, 24 A) in 56 games, while extending his ironman streak to 922 consecutive regular season games – which is the longest active streak in the NHL and just 42 games shy of Doug Jarvis‘ all-time record.

Yandle was a healthy scratch for half of Florida’s First Round matchup in the postseason – although that doesn’t affect his streak – and it wasn’t much of a surprise when he was bought out by the Panthers.

Despite his advancing years, Yandle still has plenty of good hockey to offer, he’s a superb puck-carrier and he’s a potent threat on the power play, so we took a look at the teams who could be the best fit for the defenseman…

The Three Best Landing Spots for Keith Yandle in NHL Free Agency

Keith Yandle (3)
Keith Yandle #3 of the Florida Panthers. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

3. New York Islanders

If General Manager Lou Lamoriello doesn’t convince former Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter to sign on Long Island, then he could turn his attention to Keith Yandle who might be a nice fit on this team.

Now, Yandle may not seem like the type of player Lamoriello and the Islanders would go after given that he’s more of an offensive defenseman, but New York needs a left-shot who can play on the left-side and the 34-year-old ticks both of those boxes.

He could slot in on the second-line, thus allowing Head Coach Barry Trotz to bump Andy Greene down to the third-pairing where he’s likely to be more effective, and that would immediately give this blueline unit more balance.

Yandle would also add an offensive punch from the blueline for the Isles given that he recorded 27 points (3 G, 24 A) in 56 games for the Florida Panthers in 2020-21, with 18 of those points coming on the man advantage.

Therefore, Yandle could quarterback either the first or second power play unit for the Islanders, while he can carry the puck out of the zone with ease, he would boost the transition game and he would just add a different dimension to that backend.

Plus, he’s capable of logging around 20 minutes of ice time a night if needed, he can lay the body on and he’s also pretty responsible and reliable in his own zone, qualities which would all benefit the Islanders.