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Florida Panthers acquire negotiating rights to Keith Yandle

The Florida Panthers have acquired the negotiating rights to pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Keith Yandle.

Yandle was a member of the New York Rangers for parts of the last two seasons, but a new deal for him likely would have been costly. New York was only on the hook for half of Yandle’s $5.25 million salary cap hit.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Rangers will received a sixth-round draft pick plus a conditional fourth-round pick in 2017 if Yandle signs with Florida.

In March of 2015, the Rangers acquired Yandle from the Arizona Coyotes and Chris Summers for a package that included young forward Anthony Duclair, a 2016 first-round draft pick and a 2015 second-round pick.

The 29-year-old Yandle, who had 47 points in 82 games last season to lead Rangers blueliners, will likely command a raise. 

According to General Fanager, the Rangers have $56.075 million locked into 29 contracts for next season. But they will have to re-sign restricted free agents Kevin Hayes ($3.75 million cap hit), Chris Kreider ($2.475 million cap hit) and J.T. Miller ($874,000 cap hit).

If Yandle signs this would help the puck-moving element of Florida’s blueline. Both Brian Campbell and Willie Mitchell are unrestricted free agents – though the team has said it wants to re-sign Campbell.

Florida traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson earlier in the offseason for Jared McCann.   

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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