When the San Jose Sharks parted ways with veteran defenseman Dan Boyle, his agent George Bazos told the Mercury News that one option for the pending unrestricted free agent would be to have a team trade for his rights in order to sign him before July 1 “if the feeling was mutual.”
So that’s the immediate question about the New York Islanders, who traded a conditional fifth-round pick to the Sharks for Boyle on Thursday: Is the feeling mutual?
From the Islanders:
The New York Islanders announced today that defenseman Dan Boyle has been acquired from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 National Hockey League Draft. The exchanged pick becomes a fourth-round selection if Boyle signs with the Islanders.
Boyle, 37, led all San Jose Sharks defensemen in points (36) and goals (12) in 75 games this past season. The Ottawa, ON, native added four assists in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.
In 954 career regular-season NHL games with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose, Boyle has 561 points (144 goals, 417 assists). He ranks 46th all-time in scoring among NHL defenseman and is fourth among active defensemen. Boyle has appeared in at least 75 games in nine of the last 10 full NHL seasons.
It’s an obvious move for the Islanders, who felt the sting of Mark Streit leaving for the Philadelphia Flyers. (That was another UFA-to-be trade.) Boyle still has something left in the tank, although there are concussion concerns. At the very least, he might bolster a power play that was No. 17 in the NHL last season.
As Dominic from Lighthouse Hockey writes: “If he decides to join the Islanders, he'll no doubt provide a key right-handed shot to the power play. That's a role they hope will one day be filled by Ryan Pulock, but not now. Not yet.”
But again, the question becomes if Boyle will sign. He’ll be 38 this July. The Sharks offered him one year. Boyle wanted at least two seasons.
The Islanders should be able to meet that demand.
At the very least, one hopes they’ve targeted a player that wants to sign with the Islanders before July 1 rather than having another Christian Ehrhoff mess on their hands.