Yandle dished out an assist in Thursday's 4-2 home loss to the Capitals.
It's the first point in a Panther uniform for Yandle, who signed a six-year deal with Florida in the offseason. The American blueliner fared well in his only full season with the Rangers last year, pitching in 47 points -- 22 of which came with the man advantage. Yandle actually piled up that power-play production in what was a seven-year low in ice time for him (2:52 on average per game), so it's intriguing to think what he could do in Sunrise with additional time. Through four games, he's averaged nearly four minutes on the power play, so the points should start to come soon enough for the 30-year-old.
With unrestricted free agency just around the corner, the Panthers were pressed for time but obviously confident they could reach an agreement with the 29-year-old blueliner before free agency opens July 1. That is indeed the case with the former Coyote now officially joining the Panthers for an extended stay. Coming off a 47-point (five goals, 42 assists) season with the Rangers, Yandle will look to bring his offensive skill set to a relatively young Panthers squad, who had a high of just 36 points (Aaron Ekblad) from a defenseman last season. His addition could also improve a man advantage that struggled last season, finishing in the bottom 10 in power-play percentage (16.9) last season.
The Panthers have just under two weeks to ink Yandle to a deal, with unrestricted free agency opening July 1. They likely wouldn't have made this move if they didn't have the inside track on getting a deal done, so look for a potential contract to be signed between the two sides in the coming week. Yandle recorded a Rangers' blueliner-high of 47 points this past season and would be another big name added to the free agent pool if he doesn't sign with the Panthers.
The Blueshirts' stance on Yandle has been one of uncertainty since they elected to keep him at the trade deadline. Although they could use his offense from the blue line moving forward -- Yandle chipped in 47 points this past season, easily leading the Rangers' blue line in scoring -- they've also got cap issues and may not want to be tied to such a one-dimensional player at $5 million-plus per year as he enters his 30s. Assuming Yandle does reach free agency, he'll be one of the most sought-after blueliners out there.
Yandle had gone four straight games without a point, but the offensive-minded defenseman was able to get back on track thanks to a pair of beautifully executed power-play assists. The