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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes


GLENDALE, ARIZONA -- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett announced today that the Coyotes have signed defenseman Keith Yandle to an entry-level contract. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Yandle, 19, is coming off an amazing first-year campaign in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).  In 66 games this season with Moncton, the 6-2, 205-pound blueliner collected 25 goals, 59 assists, 84 points and 109 penalty minutes (PIM).  For his play in 2005-06 with Moncton, Yandle earned the Emile Bouchard Trophy as the QMJHL's best defenseman (the same trophy that Hall of Famer Ray Bourque won in 1979 while playing with Verdun), the Telus Trophy as defensive player of the year and was a First Team QMJHL All-Star selection.

"Playing under Ted Nolan, Keith has taken an enormous step in his development this year," said Coyotes General Manger Michael Barnett. "He is obviously one of our top young prospects." 

The Boston, Massachusetts native led all Canadian Hockey League (CHL) defensemen in scoring, ranked 2nd in assists and tied for 2nd in goals.  Among QMJHL defensemen, Yandle finished first in both assists and points, tied for 2nd in goals, 3rd in shots (282), tied for 3rd in power play goals (15) and 4th in plus/minus (+50).  Yandle also finished 5th in the entire QMJHL in plus/minus, tied for 14th in assists and tied for 17th in shots.

He led the Moncton Wildcats to a 52-15-0-3 record (107 points) and a first-place finish in the QMJHL.  Later this month, Yandle and the Wildcats will participate in the Memorial Cup Championship to determine the 2006 CHL champion.  Yandle's incredible two-way play this season helped Moncton become the No. 1 ranked defense (184 goals against) and No. 2 ranked offense (345 goals scored) in the QMJHL.  Yandle and the Wildcats are presently competing against Quebec in the President's Cup to determine the QMJHL champion.

Also this season, Yandle led all Wildcats defensemen in goals, assists and points.  Among all Moncton players, he ranked 2nd on the team in assists and plus/minus while finishing 3rd in points, power play goals and PIM.  He earned the QMJHL Defensive Player of the Month in November after collecting 5 goals, 26 assists, 31 points and a plus/minus rating of  +16 in 12 games.  Yandle also won the QMJHL Defensive Player of the Week three times in 2005-06.

Prior to joining the QMJHL, Yandle played in 34 games for Cushing Academy in Massachusetts (USHS) and registered 14 goals, 40 assists, 54 points and 52 PIM in 2004-05.  He was a New England prep school first team all-star in 2004 and 2005.  Yandle was originally drafted by the Coyotes in the 4th round (105th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

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