At his weekend press conference, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher made it clear that the team put a lot of faith in younger players last season and that it contributed to the struggles. With that in mind, he made it a point to include the possibility of adding another veteran defenseman or forward in addition to a second goaltender needed on the roster.
On Tuesday, a veteran defenseman was indeed added. The Flyers have signed Keith Yandle to a one-year deal worth $900,000.
Yandle, who turns 35 on Sept. 9, spent the last five seasons with the Florida Panthers, scoring 30 goals and adding 201 assists for 231 points in 371 games. Last season, he had three goals and 24 assists for 27 points in 56 games. Yandle was bought out by the Panthers after the 2020-21 season.
Yandle played the majority of his career with the Arizona Coyotes, spending the first nine seasons of his career there. He was traded to the New York Rangers in 2015, spending the rest of that season and the next season playing under current Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault and alongside current Flyers forward Kevin Hayes.
In his two seasons with the Rangers, Yandle had seven goals and 51 assists for 58 points in 103 games.
In his career, Yandle has played 1,032 games,
including 922 regular-season games in a row, an Ironman streak that is the longest active streak in the NHL. The all-time Ironman streak in NHL history belongs to Doug Jarvis at 964 games in a row.
The move likely slots Yandle into the third-pairing for the Flyers, though there will be some competition between Yandle and fellow veteran Justin Braun as well as prospects Cam York and Egor Zamula. While the latter two could push for a spot in camp, Fletcher seemed to make it apparent that he wanted to avoid allowing young kids to have such big roles on the team in the coming season after placing a lot of trust in young players to take the next step last season.
This signing leaves the Flyers with approximately $10.8 million in cap space remaining. They still need to acquire another goalie and also re-sign defenseman Travis Sanheim and goalie Carter Hart. The free agency period opens on Wednesday for unrestricted free agents to sign.