Islanders: Could Keith Yandle Be A Nick Leddy Replacement?
By Matt O'Leary
As we found out earlier this week, the New York Islanders are shopping Nick Leddy. With the expansion draft coming, the Isles don’t want to lose Leddy for nothing and can try to flip him on the final year of his deal.
If they were to lose him, the team would likely look to bring in a veteran to replace him. On the left side, the Isles have Adam Pelech (RFA) and question marks if Leddy is gone.
You have the youngsters, Robin Salo and Samuel Bolduc, Sebastian Aho, and the veterans Thoma Hickey and Andy Greene as options. But could they look for a better one-for-one replacement for Leddy?
If so, one may have just become available in Keith Yandle. The Panthers bought out the final years of the Yandle deal, making him a free agent able to sign anywhere. He had a NMC and two years left at a $6.35 million cap hit and now, will likely sign for a fraction of that cap number.
When it comes to Yandle in 2021, he’s a soon-to-be 35-year-old who is still a force offensively. He’s 82nd percentile in even-strength offense and 91st on the power play.
New York Islanders could move for Keith Yandle
Now, defensively it’s not great. Actually, it’s pretty rough. BUT, there’s a caveat here when it comes to Yandle. They can play him in a sheltered role on the third pair, and just have him quarterback the power play.
Last year, Yandle had 18 points (1 goal, 17 assists) on the man advantage. In his career, 47% of his points have come on the man advantage. For reference, Nick Leddy led the Islanders with 11 points on the power play this past season.
Would the Isles be willing to make the sacrifice defensively to have him play 17 minutes a night with roughly four minutes of that on the power play? If they lose Leddy they may be forced to.
I’m not here trying to convince you that Yandle is a 55 point player anymore. But can he give you 40 and some much-needed power play help? Yes. Would I rather him on the bottom pair than Andy Greene? Also, yes.
Plus, as a veteran, Yandle has a good chunk of playoff experience with 58 games played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And if you’re worried about injuries slowing him down, well he has played in 922 consecutive regular-season games.
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If you can sign him for $2 million to $2.5 million a year on a one or two-year deal, I’d definitely consider it if you’re moving on from Leddy.