The Florida Panthers made one of their biggest offseason signings in franchise history early Thursday morning, signing defenseman Keith Yandle to a seven-year deal worth an average of $6.35 million per season.
Yandle, 29, was expected to be one of the hottest commodities of this upcoming free agent class only the Panthers sent a sixth round draft pick to the New York Rangers for the rights to begin early negotiations with Yandle.
By signing Yandle, the Panthers will also send a fourth round pick to New York.
“We’re thrilled,” co-owner Doug Cifu said. “This shows that top players want to win in Florida. Keith wants to win the Stanley Cup in Florida. That’s why we were his top priority and vice versa.”
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Yandle spent most of his career in Arizona after being a fourth-round pick by the Coyotes in 2005.
A two-time All-Star, Yandle was traded to the Rangers in a blockbuster deal at the 2015 deadline.
Yandle played in all 82 games for the Rangers last season and scored five goals with 42 assists.
Florida’s power play, which was ranked 23rd last season, will likely get a boost from having Yandle running things.
Of Yandle’s 369 career points, 168 have come on the power play.
With Yandle signing, it’s expected the pending free agent Brian Campbell will not return to the Panthers next season.