Instant analysis: Flyers to sign Keith Yandle to one-year deal

NHL: FEB 25 Panthers at Coyotes
GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 25: Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle (3) looks on before the NHL hockey game between the Florida Panthers and the Arizona Coyotes on February 25, 2020 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)

If you were expecting the Philadelphia Flyers to slow down this offseason, you were wrong. Chuck Fletcher has been firing on all cylinders recently and that trend carries into Tuesday. According to numerous reports, the team are set to sign former Panthers D-man Keith Yandle.

Yandle was bought out of his contract by the Panthers earlier in the offseason, meaning he was able to test free agency. It didn’t take long for Philadelphia to come knocking, sniffing some value on the open market. Elliotte Friedman noted that the deal is a one-year contract worth $900k, presenting the Flyers with a cheap and cheerful option to fill out their roster. Free agency isn’t officially open yet, but expect this move to be announced tomorrow when the bell rings.

Now 34-years-old, it’s safe to say that he won’t be challenging for a spot alongside Ivan Provorov anytime soon. He was a healthy scratch during the postseason, but that doesn’t impact what is a truly remarkable record. This is a player who currently holds the longest streak of consecutive games in the NHL (922), and someone who still recorded 27 points in 56 games last season. His presence alone will take the spotlight off of Cam York and make his jump to the NHL more gradual if needed.

The big thing to note with Yandle, like several of the team’s offseason acquisitions, is that he thrives on the power-play. 17 of his 24 assists came on the power-play last year with a further 19 recorded in 2019-20. His assist total did half this past season, but so did his average time on ice, signifying a slight decline and one that Florida were not willing to pay $6M for.

AV placed a real focus on shot selection last year, encouraging his players to be clinical in front of the net as opposed to firing as much as they can at the goalie and hoping to break through eventually. This led to some avid concern around shot differential, but when all is said and done, the method makes sense. Yandle is someone who can not only run the power-play, but aid the transition and bring the puck up the Ice quickly with vision that only a veteran of his status could bring.

There’s not a lot to dislike about this move. The Flyers pick up a player with over 1,000 appearances to his name and one that has also previously worked under Alain Vigneault. He ticks all the necessary boxes as someone who can sit on the third pairing and hold the fort while Cam York hones his craft, while simultaneously helping to raise the production on special teams and maybe even replace what Shayne Gostisbehere once provided.

Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire