Keith Yandle's name is involved in trade rumors and speculation again, and it's not a surprise the Boston Bruins are one of the teams mentioned as a potential destination for the Florida Panthers defenseman.
The Bruins lost two important defensemen in NHL free agency over the offseason, longtime captain Zdeno Chara and veteran Torey Krug. Instead of signing a veteran in free agency or making a bold trade for a top-four defenseman to replace Chara and Krug, the Bruins have so far decided to give their younger blueliners and top prospects a chance to carve out a consistent role at the NHL level.
Yandle also was born in Massachusetts, and the Bruins are no strangers to adding local players to the roster. They even have a few of them right now, including Weymouth's Charlie Coyle.
But given the direction the Bruins have taken on the blue line, as well their salary cap situation, would Yandle even be a fit on the team's roster?
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman touched on this subject as part of his latest "31 Thoughts" column:
"7. Finally, on Yandle: There’s a lot of speculation that he would be willing to waive to Boston. I’m not convinced there’s a match, however. The Bruins have been extremely careful not to add long-term money. It doesn’t fit their current activity."
Yandle is signed for two more years with an annual salary cap hit of $6.3 million, which is not a small number. He is still a productive player, though, and has averaged 50.2 points over the past five seasons.
The Bruins currently have about $4.7 million in cap space, per CapFriendly. They also have some important free agent decisions to make after the 2020-21 season with center David Krejci (UFA), center Sean Kuraly (UFA), defenseman Brandon Carlo (RFA), goalie Tuukka Rask (UFA) and goalie Jaroslav Halak (UFA), among others, all on expiring contracts. Top defenseman Charlie McAvoy's next contract also looms with his current deal expiring in 2022.
With the salary cap not expected to rise much in the short term, adding players with large cap hits isn't going to be an easy task.
The Bruins have defended well to begin the 2020-21 season despite plenty of youth and experience on their blue line. Boston has allowed just 1.67 goals and 23.3 shots on net per game -- the second-best mark in the league in both categories.
Yandle remains a quality player, but his age (34), contract and the Bruins' need to give their young d-men a chance to prove themselves just don't make the veteran defenseman a good fit with Boston at this time.