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Panthers acquire negotiating rights to D Keith Yandle from Rangers

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Sixth-round pick in 2016 and a conditional pick go the other way

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers continue to be busy this offseason.

Last night the team acquired the rights to pending UFA defenseman Keith Yandle from the New York Rangers for a sixth-round pick (174th overall) in this weekend's draft.

If the Cats are able to sign Yandle to a contract, New York will get Florida's fourth-round pick in 2017.

The 29-year-old Yandle is coming off a season that saw him total 5 goals and 47 assists while playing all 82 games for the Rangers.

Yandle was originally drafted by the then Phopenix Coyotes 105th overall in 2005. The offensive-minded defenseman has scored 72 goals and added 297 assists in 661 career regular season games.

If Yandle signs on the line which is dotted, he could be looked upon as a replacement for veteran Brian Campbell, if Soup decides to test the free agent waters. If Florida can come to terms with both blue-liners, the club could boast a very formidable defense corps next season.

GM Tom Rowe had the to say:

We went after (Yandle) because we like the way he plays the game. We feel with the forwards that we have up front, he really complements our offensive attack. It's no secret, he averages 50 points a season. We felt he was a real good fit. (Assistant GMs) Eric Joyce and Steve Werier are negotiating the contract with his agent tonight. We wouldn't have made the trade if we weren't confident that we could come to a conclusion and get him into our system.

Fortune favors the bold and this is move that could work out in spades for the Panthers, especially if Campbell comes back. Sure, there is a risk that Yandle will sign elsewhere come July, but for a sixth-round pick, this is risk well worth taking.