Keith Yandle has always been known as a talented Defenseman. After being drafted by the Coyotes in the fourth round in 2005, Yandle was named Major Junior Defensemen of the Year- but that wasn’t his only accolade. He has also received the Emile Bouchard Trophy as QMJHL’s Best Defenseman and the Telus Trophy as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
His first game in the NHL was on October 11, 2006 against the Detroit Red Wings- and while he only played six other games for the Coyotes the 2006-2007 season, he took off running not long after. By the end of the 2013-2014 season, he had played 495 games with the Coyotes.
Yandle’s style of play has not been that of a typical defenseman; he has taken the defensive style that Bobby Orr revolutionized in the mid-sixties and seventies to a new level, driving wildly up the ice whenever he gets the opportunity.
Some love his offensive drive up the ice while others find it to be an opening for turn overs in the neutral zone. Currently his career plus minus is a -2, and is supposedly why team USA passed on him for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. However, he was in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 All-Star games, and played for the United States in the Ice Hockey World Championships in 2010.
For a defenseman, he draws in quite a crowd with his playing ability. Last season, Yandle finished first in the Coyotes in points with 53. He also sits alongside Mikkel Boedker and Antoine Vermette, lacing up his skates for all 82 games of the regular season. Therefore, his risks on the ice are not without reward.
The push he has leads to opportunities that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. The best example of this was when The Coyotes were in over-time against the Oilers and he stripped the puck in the defensive zone and skated all the way across the ice to score the winning goal.
It is safe to say, whether people like his style or not, he produces results. He has come a long way from New England Prep School, going from being roommates with Tyson Nash to being the Coyotes Assistant Captain. He’s 27, has a wife and a kid, and still has time left on the five-year, $26.25 million dollar contract he signed back in July of 2011. If he stays disciplined, his future with the Coyotes is bright.
Last but not least, he happens to also be very entertaining in the videos they do for the Super Bowl, Christmas, and so on. This one might be a personal favorite.