The Flyers Should Not Look to Aquire Keith Yandle

Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers and Keith Yandle, Florida Panthers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers and Keith Yandle, Florida Panthers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Keith Yandle is available, but should the Flyers really pursue him?

There seems to be three constants in life: Death, taxes, and rumors that link the Flyers and defenseman Keith Yandle.  From 2014 and on it seemed you couldn’t escape the whispers in the rumor-mill that they were always trying to land the offensive defenseman.

Well, fast forward to January of 2021 and it looks like the rumors have returned again.  The question is, as one of two places that 34 year-old would reportedly waive his NMC for, should the Flyers trade for Yandle?  The short answer is absolutely not.

Cap Hit & Contract

Yandle has 3 years left on his 7 year contract that he signed in June of 2016, with a cap hit of $6.35 million in each of those final 3 years.  With the Flyers currently holding only $1,384,753 of cap space, and already at the 50 contract limit, there would need to be salary going the other way.

An interesting wrinkle is that the Flyers could wait on a deal until the trade deadline so that they can open up additional cap space of $6,124,867, but this would still require the Flyers to move someone out to be compliant with the contract limit.  As it is right now, the numbers just don’t add up for a Yandle/Flyers trade, and committing that much cap space to a player passed their prime is a recipe for disaster in a flat-cap world. 

You would hope that Florida would absorb some of the cap hit to make a trade more tenable, but who is going the other way?  The name that immediately pops to mind is Shayne Gostisbehere, but that would mean the Panthers would essentially be trading for a lesser version of Yandle, and that might not be too appetizing.

Defensive Role Redundancy

Keith Yandle has been a premiere offensive defenseman during his time in the NHL, and has scored any where from 40-60 points a season for the last decade. The Flyers, to their credit, already had one of the highest scoring defenses in the league last year without someone like Yandle.

There is no shortage of offensive defensemen on this team already. Shayne Gostisbehere and newly acquired Erik Gustafsson already fill out this role on the team. Ivan Provorov, who is not strictly considered an offensive defenseman but a two-way force, can put up double digit goals.

The defense is not lacking in the goal department, and with three offensive defensemen on the roster already, Yandle’s value  to the team would already be diminished.

Does acquiring Yandle “Move the needle”?

Any potential player transaction this year needs to be viewed through the lens of “Does this player move the needle”.  Essentially, what that means is if the Flyers traded for Yandle today, would his acquisition move the team closer to a Stanley Cup championship? 

His affect on the team would most likely be marginal at best, as you’d just be trading for an older if only slightly better version of either Ghost or Gus.  What this team sorely lacks is another two-way, top pairing defenseman that fills the Niskanen sized void on defense to play with Provorov.  It is something that they were unable to address in the offseason, and Yandle is not the type of player that fits into that role.

The Flyers should always be looking for impact players that make their team better, whether its through trade, drafting, or free agency, but they also need to be smart about it.  Things like the cap and team fit always needs to be analyzed before pulling the trigger on any type of acquisition.

In the case of Yandle, with his cap hit, age, and a play style already spoken for on the team, if the Panthers call to talk about a potential Yandle trade, Chuck Fletcher should politely decline.