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Sunday, June 10, 2021

at the centers
Allow me to get in an extended dig at the Islanders over their buy-out of the remaining four years of Alexei Yashin’s 10-year contract:

They’d better remember the procedure. Because they’ll be doing it again in a few short years, with Rick DiPietro’s ridiculous 15-year pact.

Okay then, with that out of the way:

I’m crossing my fingers that the Rangers don’t start sniffing around the newly-freed Yashin. True, in my opinion, they’ve been thin at center for the past two years. No offense to Michael Nylander, who clicks with Jaromir Jagr nicely enough. But Nylander would be better as a second-line pivot. More of a dominator on the first line would really bring out Jagr’s best. And as far as physical skills, Yashin better fits that mold.

But maybe my fears are unfounded. After all, Yashin’s days as a top-liner may be behind him. He was relegated to fourth-line duty during his last days with the Isles. If that’s the best he can do, there’s no reason for the Rangers to bring him aboard. If the Blueshirts wind up landing the biggest free-agent catch at center — Scott Gomez — then Yashin will definitely be out of the picture for Madison Square Garden.

A new team could take a chance on Yashin, figuring a change of scenery would rouse his competitiveness. He would probably come pretty cheap and short-term, considering his money situation is settled with the buyout money.

In that vein, a possibility: The Buffalo Sabres. With their top two centers likely to bolt due to cap restrictions in Buffalo, the Sabres could take a flyer on Yashin. He might be motivated just from the shift from a borderline playoff team to a Conference finalist, as well as the opportunity to prove he can still play at a high level.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/10/2021 09:33:03 PM
Category: Hockey | Permalink |

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