A Defenseman No One Talks About: Keith Yandle
By Patrick Hoffman
When it comes to the NHL's best defensemen, only a few names really get mentioned
Guys like Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, Drew Doughty, Brent Burns, P.K. Subban, and Dustin Byfuglien are the ones that are constantly talked about. Obviously, this is understandable considering these guys are All-Stars and a few of them are Norris Trophy winners as the league's best defenseman.
With all of that said, there is one guy who has always flown under the radar and has been one of the league's most consistent defensemen. This guy would be Florida Panthers' blue liner Keith Yandle.
Yandle, 31, has been in the league for 12 seasons and has quietly established himself as an extremely reliable defenseman. This is a player that can clear the front of the net our for his goaltender, block a lot of shots, break up passes, and is someone who always seems to be in the right position.
The above mentioned qualities do not seem to carry much weight anymore. Nowadays, hockey fans like to look at the offensive numbers they put up, how they contribute on the power play, and how effective they can be in overtime when it is 3-on-3 hockey.
Believe it or not, Yandle can also put up the points from the backend. He averages about 39 points a season and has also crack the 50-point barrier several times (2011, 2014, 2015, and 2018).
The Boston native is also a stud on the power play. Last season, he had 18 points on the power play last season and has 204 career points with the man advantage.
Yandle is also a great leader. He has been an alternate/assistant captain with the Panthers (current alternate captain) and the Arizona Coyotes.
This is a player who deserves more attention than he is getting. He's a point-producer, someone who is consistent and reliable, and is a guy that his team can count on to be a hard worker and leader when they need one the most.
Pay attention to Yandle, folks. I promise that he's worth watching.
Patrick currently covers the NHL here as well as for WTP Sports.
Has previously covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.