Larry Brooks writes that based on how the Rangers deploy Keith Yandle on the ice they can't be "seriously invested" in attempting to keep Yandle from becoming a UFA on July 1. (NY Post)
Brooks notes that Yandle, since being acquired, has been the Rangers number six defenseman and that while his power play abilities were a big reason he was acquired, he remains on the Rangers second unit. (NY Post)
Yandle is sixth on the Rangers in ice time per game at 19:05 but fifth in even strength time per game at 16:47.
He says that if the Rangers were "serious about keeping" Yandle they would have to increase his minutes and role since the only "realistic" way to keep Yandle would be to trade Marc Staal, who has a no-move clause. (NY Post)
Brooks says that while trading Yandle would create a hole for the Rangers, that hole would be in the sixth defensive spot. (NY Post)
Adam Rotter: Yandle is the Rangers third pair left defenseman. When you cut out his reputation, his past, who he was traded for, his full cap hit, all of it, he is the Rangers third-pair left defenseman. Because Yandle is the Rangers third-pair left defenseman and sixth on the team in ice time per game you can't afford to give him the contract he will get as a UFA. It's just not feasible to do that when you can have Brady Skjei play that role and kill penalties for a fraction of the price. Is Skjei as good as Yandle is, no, at least not right now, but as a cap team the Rangers need at least one or two of their defensemen to be cheap. Next year's likely third pair of Skjei and McIlrath will be cheap.
What the Rangers need to determine is whether it's worth it to go for it with Yandle this season or to try and get some assets for him at the deadline while also bringing in a capable third-pair left defenseman. You don't want to lose Yandle for nothing but he is an asset that I don't think the Rangers would just give away to get a couple of mid-round picks. If the Rangers are able to get a 2nd rounder and maybe a bit more for Yandle while not paying a lot to get his replacement, I think they will strongly consider doing that.