That changes the market a bit for Boyle, although the market for him was already in flux. According to Darren Dreger, the top five suitors for Boyle are the Tampa Bay Lightning, his former team; the Toronto Maple Leafs; the Montreal Canadiens; the Detroit Red Wings; and the New York Rangers.
Already, the Ehrhoff Effect might have adjusted that market. The Tampa Bay Lightning started clearing the decks on the same day the former Sabre was given a buyout – coincidence? The Red Wings wanted Ehrhoff at the trade deadline and have swooped into the derby for his services, probably preferring to go long-term with a 32-year-old defenseman than stop-gap with a veteran like Boyle, if only for the cap savings.
Although given the Red Wings’ need for a right-handed shot in their D-corps, maybe they got after both Ehrhoff and Boyle?
The Rangers know what Anton Stralman gives them, but with just 11 players under contract they want to limit him to around $4 million per season. Is Boyle an upgrade? Overall it could be a wash, but on the power play – where the Rangers can use a point man – he is. The issue is that the Rangers would likely prefer an incentive-laden one-year deal and Boyle’s angling for two years.
What’s the fit with Boyle and the Canadiens? Not sure, after the Andrei Markov deal was finalized, but they’re apparently still in the derby. The Leafs, meanwhile, would give him all of the money and the term he’s looking for.
One gets the feeling Boyle goes where Ehrhoff doesn’t between the Red Wings and Lightning. And if neither of them land Ehrhoff, we’ll go with Detroit.
UPDATE: Katie Strang believes that the Islanders, who traded for his rights, are still in the top five for Boyle.