New York Rangers Shake Up their Blue Line


New York Rangers Must Deal with Yandle

With veteran blue-liner Dan Boyle out and, other New York Rangers blue-liner, Keith Yandle entering unrestricted free agency, there will be many questions running through Jeff Gorton’s mind this off-season.

What makes the decision to either let Yandle walk, or re-sign him, is made more difficult due to the fact that the answer will only be found when the rest of the market starts to move.

The New York Rangers Options

Alain Vigneault has stated,

"“There’s no denying inconsistency this year was a big part of our season, especially from our back end this year. The puck-moving ability we’ve shown in the past, for whatever reason, was not as good and it affected a lot of our game.”"

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This implies that blue line players will be scrutinized and analytically torn apart this off-season when Gorton sits down to weigh out his options, but what options does Gorton have, in regards to Yandle? The only reasons Gorton should discard Yandle this post season are either his market value exceeds what the New York Rangers can spend, or the possibility of picking up a young and talented defenseman.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Since Keith Yandle becomes an UFA this summer, he can sit back and watch while general managers all over the NHL try to put a price tag on him. There is a chance that a team looking for an experienced veteran, who can still produce in the offensive and defensive zone, will offer Yandle something like $11 million over two years.

If that does happen, then Gorton needs to cut ties with Yandle. He is good, but the New York Rangers cannot afford to dish-out high paying contracts to anyone if they want to remain competitive in five or six years, which brings us to the next option.

Yandle is valuable and if he does decide to walk, that will clear up $2,625,000 dollars in CAP space for the New York Rangers. This extra space could then be used to go after one or two younger players. For instance, Sami Vatanen currently plays for the Ducks and will become a RFA this summer. He currently is making $1.275 million and has recorded 38 points in 71 games.

Yes, there may be a drop off in production when you compare Vatanen to Yandle, but there is also a drop off in age and right now the Rangers should be okay with “biting the bullet” for a year or two in order to create a core of young talent.

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Keith Yandle is a solid player and for the right price the New York Rangers should hang on to him. He can score and there is an argument for Yandle having played better defense this year than teammate Dan Girardi for most of the year.

If the Rangers can sell Yandle on the whole “team” thing, and preach to him the possibility of winning a Cup, and Keith bites, then yes sign him. If not, well AV said it best: