As the trade deadline clocked ticked down to 4 o'clock it appeared that the Rangers, precipitously close to the salary cap season, were looking to retool their depth by picking up guys like James Sheppard and Carl Klingberg. Then all of a sudden the Rangers traded for Keith Yandle, one of the best puck moving defensemen in the NHL and definitely filling a need on the blue line.
Though the price was high, Yandle proved to be worth the trade (actually he proved to be a great return on investment due to the Arizona Coyotes eating half of his remaining salary) during the stretch run and into the playoffs. It did take Yandle a few games to get used to his new teammates and system but you could see the on ice benefits of having a player of Keith Yandle's calibur on the blue line.
Recording a rather ok 2-9-11 in 21 regular season games as a Ranger, Yandle went into the post season and continued his play of great puck movement and power play work and put up another 2-9-11 line in 19 playoff games which included passes such as this;
And that pass came after Yandle suffered a sprained AC joint in his shoulder against the Penguins, he played through the Capitals series with the injury and was only feeling better as the Rangers faced the Tampa Bay lightning in the Eastern Conference Final.
Offense: 11 points in 21 regular season games for a PMD like Yandle is very solid production, especially coming to a new team with a drastically different system and in the middle of a President's Trophy run. Yandle's skating, passing, vision, and shot are all top notch talents that, in a full training camp and season with this team, should put up solid numbers. Final Grade: B
Defense: This is probably the biggest knock on Yandle, he's just not a great defender in his own end. His reads and off puck positioning could use some work but his outlet passes and his ability to skate the puck out of danger are a much needed asset on the blue line. Final Grade: C
Final Grade: It's hard to give Yandle a solid grade based off of ~40 games and 12 of those being playoff games where he wasn't 100%. In the end though you saw all of the tools that Yandle brings to the rink as well as his high puck moving skills that will certainly bolster a defense corps in desperate need of a player with his mental and physical quickness.(He also kind of sucks at celebrating OT winners) Final Grade: C+