The Boston Bruins need some help on defense. There is a very good chance that Bruins’ GM Don Sweeney will spend a good deal of the offseason looking to add some defensemen after missing the playoffs for the second straight year. There could be some help to be had through trades, but there is one free agent the Bruins should target if he becomes available, New York Rangers’ blueliner Keith Yandle.
Yandle was born in Boston and is a perfect fit for the Bruins who could use someone who can move the puck and be a pointman on the power play. He is a left-handed shot so he wouldn’t pair with Zdeno Chara on the top pair, but having Yandle on the second unit and quarterbacking the power play could be just what the doctor ordered.
This past season, Yandle scored five goals and recorded 42 assists. His 47 points were his fewest since the shortened 2012-13 season when he had 30 points in 48 games. He is a virtual lock to put up 50 points right now and would add a new dynamic to the Bruins’ defense and offense.
The one roadblock for the Bruins will be money and the salary cap. There is no better defenseman on the free agent market this offseason so Yandle could see a deal that pays him $6 million or more easily. That would be a problem for the Bruins and Sweeney would need to find some wiggle room to make it work. However, the Bruins are a team that is geared more towards winning now than a few years from now. With an overhaul on defense the Bruins could be a threat to go deep in the Eastern Conference. Adding Yandle, who would be 30 next season, is the perfect start.
Sweeney can’t afford to go into next season without adding talent, youth and depth on defense. Yandle might not bring the youth part but he certainly would make the Bruins a much better team. He might also be the Bruins’ only shot to add an impact defenseman given the difficulty Sweeney has had finding a defenseman on the trade market recently.
The Bruins should do all they can to bring Yandle home. They finished seventh in power play percentage this past season at 20.5 percent. Adding Yandle should boost them into the top five and make them a legitimate threat in the East next year. More importantly for the Bruins, adding Yandle doesn’t require surrendering any young talent which the team will need in the coming years.