Pro Hockey Talk reported this morning that Keith Yandle is potentially available via trade and immediate I had a raging cactus in my pants. Unlike the rumors for Rick Nash, which I believe would be a fucking stupid move on the part of the Bruins, Yandle would bring some much needed upgrade to an already good defensive group. Now let me preface this by saying that I'm a big Yandle guy. I wanted the Bruins to throw an offer sheet towards him when he was a restricted free agent, so take that for what it's worth.
Unlike Nash, Yandle is a young guy (25 years old) and will be 26 when the season starts in October. So like we did with Nash, lets take a look at his stats.
Unlike Nash, Yandle's stats have been relatively consistent, netting at least 40 points in each of his last 3 seasons. He's also durable, playing every game from the 2009-2010 season to the upcoming season. It's tough, though, to judge a defenseman on offensive stats. It's easy to judge Nash on these because he's a "goal scorer" (and I use the term very loosely) and Yandle isn't. I think to properly judge if he would be worth trading for, we need to look deeper into some stats.
Let me get deeper baby...deeper into stats...
Lets take a look at what NHL.com calls "real-time stats" or hits, blocked shots, takeaways and giveaways:
None of these numbers blow you away, especially the hits, but you have to look at them compared to his play style. Yandle's play style is a lot like Joe Corvo in that he's more of an offensive, puck moving defenseman who can help on the power play. Now, we've seen guys like Corvo and Kaberle come to the Bruins system and flame out miserably. I think that Yandle has a better make-up than the two previous players, especially when Carolina's GM called signing Kaberle a mistake and traded him in season.
The good thing about Yandle is that he's durable. Like I mentioned earlier, from 2009-2012 he played in 246 regular season games which equates to 82 games per season. That's not even counting playoff games, which unlike Rick Nash, Yandle has some experience in playing.
|ES TOI||PP TOI||SH TOI|
|18:43 (1st on PHX)||3:27 (1st on PHX)||0:09 (WOW)|
So Yandle led Phoenix in ice time for even strength time on ice per game and power play time on ice per game, but only played 9 seconds of short handed time per game. Are you fucking kidding me? To me, that's a big blow when it comes to a defenseman who can't kill penalties. However, he's worth it for the power play time. It's possible that Yandle eats up all of Corvo's minutes (2:24 PP TOI/G) and cuts down on Seidenberg's PP TOI/G (2:36) which would make Seidenberg more available for short handed play.
If you look at how the Bruins used Corvo last season, he averaged 0:18 of SH TOI/G, which is probably how Boston would use him, so I'm not too worried. With guys like Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuk, Chara and Seidenberg to kill penalties I doubt Yandle would be given the task of doing that.
So now let's look at the big thing here, his contract:
Yandle's contract is 4 years at $5,250,000 per year and then he's an unrestricted free agent.
After looking through the contracts for both Boston and Phoenix, the Coyotes lack center depth, something Boston is booming with. This is Boston's chance to unload Krejci since their salaries match for the next 3 seasons (Krejci makes $5,250,000 for the next three seasons, somehow) so the matching salaries would still give Boston about $3,877,857 to use (not counting Savard's $4M) and re-sign Tuukka Rask with. If the Bruins were really high on Yandle, they could even throw in a guy like Johnny Boychuk, which would give them some more cap relief and exonerate them from that horrible contract.
And now comes to the real question:
"What about Dougie Hamilton?!"
Well folks, I don't know why people's expectations of Hamilton are so high when he's never played an NHL game. It could just be hype from him winning the OHL Defenseman of the Year award, but I don't think rushing the kid is a good idea. I think how the Bruins handled Seguin, in hind sight, really made him a better player and ready for his sophomore season. I can see them doing something similar with Hamilton. It goes against everything I said when the Bruins were eliminated, but Hamilton will benefit from baby steps and learning, instead of being thrown into the fire to make mistake after mistake and be called a bust.
Don't act like it doesn't happen.
And with Krejci gone, juggling the lines won't be as hard as someone would think. Potential line combinations:
Marchand - Bergeron - Seguin
Lucic - Kelly - Horton
Caron - Peverley - Pouliot/Knight/UFA (Chiarelli did say "top 9" forward)
Paille - Campbell - Thornton
Chara - Yandle
Seidenberg - Ference
McQuaid - Boychuk
Then after next season, Andrew Ference is a UFA and you let him walk.
What do you think? Yay or nay on Yandle?