GLENDALE, ARIZONA - The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) announced that Phoenix Coyotes prospect Keith Yandle has been named the CHL's Defenseman of the Year following the 2005-06 season. The CHL is comprised of the three major junior leagues in Canada including the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL).
Yandle, 19, is coming off an amazing first campaign in the QMJHL. In 66 games this season with the Moncton Wildcats, the 6-2, 205-pound blueliner collected 25 goals, 59 assists, 84 points and 109 penalty minutes (PIM). Yandle also 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.
The Boston, Massachusetts native led all 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 Wildcats to a 52-15-0-3 record (107 points) and a first-place finish in the QMJHL. Yandle also helped Moncton reach the 2006 Memorial Cup Finals and he scored two goals in the championship game on Sunday which Quebec won 6-2. Yandle's incredible two-way play this season helped Moncton become the first ranked defense (184 goals against) and second ranked offense (345 goals scored) in the QMJHL.
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.
Yandle, who was originally drafted by the Coyotes in the 4th round (105th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, recently signed an entry level contract with the Coyotes on May 5, 2006.