Florida Panthers sign Keith Yandle to seven-year $44.5M contract

FILE - In this Feb 25, 2016 file photo, New York Rangers Keith Yandle is seen during an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues in St. Louis. With the salary cap expected to remain flat, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers were opportunistic in giving up draft picks to acquire NHL-caliber help. The Panthers sent a sixth-rounder and a conditional fourth to the New York Rangers for the rights to pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Keith Yandle. (AP Photo/Billy Hurst)

The Florida Panthers have signed defenseman Keith Yandle to a seven-year contract worth $44.5 million. This comes to a $6.35 million salary cap hit per-season.

Yandle’s deal was reported by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Yandle has a no-movement clause the first six years of his deal. In the last year he has a limited no-trade clause.

Before signing Yandle, the Panthers were under the salary cap floor by $3.43 million. 

Yandle’s prior contract was for $26.25 million over the span of five years. He was a pending unrestricted free agent.

The Panthers acquired the negotiating rights to Yandle from the salary cap strapped New York Rangers for a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. The Rangers will now receive a 2017 fourth-round pick because Yandle signed his deal.

In March of 2015, the Rangers acquired Yandle from the Arizona Coyotes with 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 had 47 points in 82 games last season. According to Naturalstattrick, Yandle posted a 51.02 score and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF%. He also held a plus-4.84 score and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF% relative to the rest of his team.

Adding Yandle to the team’s blueline will likely help their puck-moving abilities and depth. Veterans Brian Campbell and Willie Mitchell are unrestricted free agents – though the team has said it wants to re-sign Campbell. The Chicago Tribune reported Campbell has interest in signing with the Chicago Blackhawks

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

Yandle was arguably the top pending unrestricted free agent defenseman on the market.

As far as other offseason needs Florida must also re-sign pending restricted free agent Vincent Trocheck off his entry-level contract. It's likely Trocheck will get a hefty raise after he scored 25 goals last season.