By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Florida Panthers seem determined to get defenseman Keith Yandle to waive his no-move clause.
And if they’re successful, it’s believed that the Boston Bruins would be among the early favorites to land the 34-year-old defenseman, according to NHL insider Andy Strickland.
If Keith Yandle waives his no-move look for the Philadelphia Flyers to join the Boston as potential landing spots. Player hasn’t asked for a trade and team has yet to officially ask him to waive. #Flapanthers— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) January 14, 2021
Now, given the financial roadblocks around the NHL thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the upcoming expansion draft that’ll see the Kraken rob teams blind like Vegas in 2017, moving Yandle’s $6.35 million cap hit through 2023 is no easy feat.
But new Panthers general manager Bill Zito is even willing to break Yandle’s 866-game ironman streak, the longest in the entire NHL, to piss him off and make it happen.
“There’s a strong possibility based on what’s happened in camp that Yandle does not play opening night,” Pierre LeBrun reported on the Thursday edition of TSN’s Insider Trading. “That would end his ironman streak. Why is this all happening? Zito has made a number of changes, both in the front office and with the roster, since he was named GM in September. This is part and parcel with that.
“[Zito] mentioned ‘meritocracy, accountability and the vision of having a team that when I put 20 guys on the ice, they are at their best.’ So Yandle is falling out of favor. His agent, Jerry Buckley, is saying this isn’t about performance, and that it’s the GM’s attempt to put heat on his client to waive his no-move.”
The Bruins’ inclusion on this list is obvious for a number of reasons.
The No. 1 reason is that the Bruins are seemingly in need of a high-end left-shot defenseman to elevate their group. The Bruins were interested in Oliver Ekman-Larsson when the offseason began, and were also interested in depth defenseman Ben Hutton before he joined the Ducks. Even after a solid showing in Boston’s Opening Night win over the Devils, the Bruins’ left side remains the team’s biggest question mark in 2021.
The other reason, of course, is that Yandle is from the area.
A Milton, Mass. native, Yandle would join Charlie Coyle (Weymouth) and Chris Wagner (Walpole) as South Shore standouts now playing for their hometown team. The Bruins have also shown an obvious interest in bringing hometown players to the Bruins. They know it’s not for everyone, but it’s something they believe can bring the best out of certain players. (Yandle, for what it’s worth, has totaled 13 points in 13 career games at Boston’s TD Garden.)
Yandle has also been effective since taking his talents to South Beach, with a career-best 53 assists and 62 points two years ago, and 27 goals and 204 points in 315 total games since joining the Cats in 2016.
Still, this would be a difficult trade to pull off out of nowhere.
That contract may be tough for the Bruins to absorb giving the upcoming paydays to both Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy, as well as the uncertainty surrounding veterans David Krejci and Tuukka Rask, both of whom are in the final year of their deals. Yandle’s no-trade also makes the Bruins’ expansion draft plans a little trickier, as they’d have to protect him, which would by all means force the Bruins into a making a trade with Seattle to prevent them from drafting a defenseman like Matt Grzelcyk or Brandon Carlo off their roster. (The Bruins may already need to work out an expansion deal draft with Seattle without Yandle in the picture.)
But at least the Bruins have found a potential fallback option in the event that their youth can’t hang in 2021.