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My Kingdom for a Defenseman, Part 6: Too much to Yandle

Fire a taser at a merry-go-round, shock the whirled.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The story thus far

As a reminder, in part 1 I identified 3 clues that can lead to a good UFA signing. They are:

1. We want a guy who's underrated, so his market value will likely be below his actual to-the-team value

2. We want a guy who's not that old on a relatively short contract

3. We want a guy who's playing style hopefully won't cause him to burn out quickly after starting his deal

These aren't requirements. They're more like helpful hints. None are necessarily deal makers, and the absence of one is not necessarily a deal breaker.

And now, let's SHOCK THE WORLD


Hero chart -

How to actually read that:

Key number dump:

Time to talk about Milford, MA's very own Keith Yandle. Keith Yandle is a puck moving, offensive defenseman. Many will argue that Yandle is the best UFA D this year. He led the Arizona Coyotes in scoring TWICE, as a defenseman. He's easily, easily a top 4 defenseman, if not a top pairing one. Because he's from MA, he's been linked to the Bruins through trades for so long that it's a meme. It's very likely that he'd take a literal hometown discount to sign with Boston. To many, he seems like an obvious candidate for the Bruins to sign.

There seems to be a whole little "We're gonna sign Yandle!" party going on among some Bruins fans. There's music, snacks, dancing. Someone even made cute little posters. And I have now arrived at that party. Yet I come not to drink from the punchbowl, but to shit in it.

Here's the thing about Keith Yandle.

At 5 on 5, Torey Krug is a better defenseman than Keith Yandle.

For reference, here's Krug's hero chart.

Krug doesn't generate the level of shots that Yandle does, but while Yandle bleeds shots in his own end, Krug is actually pretty good at suppressing them. They're about equal possession players, overall. But, Krug generates higher quality shots than Yandle. As a result, while Yandle's xGF%RelTM is about 0, Krug's is about 1 standard deviation above the mean. That's nerd for "pretty good". And Krug does all this in comparable competition to Yandle.

I know, there's some nagging thought in the back of your mind. Some part of you is saying that Krug is a sheltered 3rd pairing guy and Keith Yandle has a big name and people talk about him so how can Krug be bettter? But you have to realize that that part of your brain is wrong and mostly runs on old Mountain Dew residue and exists only to say small = bad. And, in past seasons, your brain probably would have had an arguement. But this year? Krug was far from sheltered, and Yandle's responsibilities were toned down quite a bit from when he was with the Yotes. At 5 on 5, both of them ended up playing essentially the same quality, top 4 minutes. With Krug out performing Yandle.

The best part? Krug isn't just the better defenseman when it comes to doing normal defenseman things. He also out scores Yandle at 5v5. In terms of primary points/60, Krug decimates Yandle. But that's not really Yandle's fault, since Krug gets a ridiculous amount of primary assists. Krug was 3rd, on the entire Bruins team, in primary asissts/60 this year. He was behind only David Krejci and Ryan Spooner. That's it. Be afraid of the little guy.

But, wait? I thought Yandle was supposed to be some sort of god among offensive defensemen? Didn't he lead his team in scoring twice, as a D?! That sounds impressive!

Well, yes, kind of, maybe, no. Yes, it's true he led his team in scoring twice, as a defenseman. But that team was the Arizona Coyotes. All he needed to do was break 50 points and bam, led the team. For reference, Krug had an unreasonably low shooting percentage this season, and still got 44 points while getting less TOI than Yandle did as a Yote.

There is one place that Yandle is better than Krug, and that's on the powerplay. But, first off, the Bruins don't need help on the power play, they need help at 5v5 and on the PK. Second off, the Bruins have 2 of the best PP point men in the league with Krejci and Krug. Throwing Yandle into the mix means someone's going to go to waste on the second PP.

To top it off, Krug will most likely be cheaper, is half a decade younger, and it should surprise nobody if Krug outscores Yandle next season.

Consider the punchbowl officially shat in.