By: Andrew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter @justyouknowwhyyy
The off-season is over. We are playing hockey games again.
But that does not mean that fans of the Boston Bruins are not interested in engaging in a little armchair GMing.
On January 12th, just five days before the start of the regular season. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Florida Panthers had declared defenseman Keith Yandle to no longer be part of the Florida Panthers’ plans. Placing him with the team’s healthy scratches until a resolution could be reached.
Naturally, this launched Bruins fans into the stratosphere. Coupled with the news, Yandle is willing to waive his full no-movement clause to go to his home state (Yandle is from Milton, Massachusetts). I took a temperature of Bruins fans, what they would think of trading for the 34-year old defenseman. With a perceived hole on the left side of the defense, it would seem like a perfect fit, and most of you agreed with that sentiment. With 55.4% of you wanting the Bruins to find a trade for him.
Unfortunately, there are too many factors working against Boston for such a trade, Yandle might want to come here, but the cost seems too great. Here is why:
The NMC comes with him no matter what.
In what is one of the biggest reasons why a Keith Yandle trade would not be a good idea is a small but significant change to the CBA.
In July of 2020, the NHL signed a Moratorium of Understanding as part of their Return to Play initiative. Contained within is a clause stating that even if Yandle were to waive his No-Movement Clause to come to Boston, the clause would remain in his contract.
The Bruins would be on the hook for three more years. More importantly, with the upcoming expansion draft, Yandle would have to be among the protected skaters. Even with potential 50% retention on a $6.35 million average annual value, these factors make his contract too iron-clad to be worth trading for.
Acquiring Yandle sends the wrong message to the room.
Don Sweeney and the Bruins front office has been very consistent in wanting to be younger on the back end. With promising play by Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril to start the season, and after letting stalwart captain Zdeno Chara walk, acquiring a Keith Yandle muddies the message that has been put forth by the organization for months on end. Add all of that to a difficult to move contract, and any potential trade just does not make sense regardless of who the Bruins include on their end of the deal.
His defense has not been good for a long time.
Yandle is undoubtedly a fine puck mover and a noted iron-man with a still active 867-game streak as of this writing, but to swing a trade for someone of his name recognition, the possession and puck-moving numbers have to be more than fine. According to Natural Stat Trick, despite being a perennial 50-55 point player, Yandle grades out as a low-end second-pair defenseman on the left side with declining possession numbers and tumbling goal prevention when he is on the ice. Much in the way of the Mike Hoffman situation, Keith Yandle is another square peg in a round hole situation, which should bring Bruins fans to pass.
Florida has cold feet – so this may all be moot anyway.
The Panthers seemed to have struck an uneasy truce with Yandle to start the season. A new wrinkle making the whole rigmarole even more curious. Though Yandle suiting up for Florida’s opener does not mean the trade rumors end here. What it does mean is that for the time being, the Panthers have backed off of their hard-line stance.
While a Yandle trade would look good on paper, a solid start by the young Bruins defense combined with a difficult contract attached to a team fit issue and declining play on the defensive end would ultimately be a bad idea. Even though adding a puck-moving defenseman may seem like something that moves the needle, bringing this particular hometown boy aboard appears to be too much risk and not enough reward. For me, I am going to have to blow this Yandle out.