Dan Boyle had a better offer from the Detroit Red Wings. He had a better offer from the New York Islanders. The problem for both of those teams and others in their courtship of the free-agent defenseman: None of them are the New York Rangers.
“That’s where I wanted to go,” said Boyle in his first chat with the media since signing a 2-year, $9-million deal with the Rangers on July 1. “That’s the simplest way I could put it. Once I found out I was done in San Jose, that’s the team that kind of jumped out. That’s the team I’ve always been curious about.”
Just not with the Islanders, the team that acquired his negotiating rights from the Sharks before he spurned them for their rivals.
“People are going to say he didn’t want to go there,” Boyle said, via Rangers Rants. “[But] it’s that I wanted to go to the New York Rangers.”
It goes beyond the Blueshirt for Boyle. There’s also an old friend he was eager to play with again, as having former Lightning teammate Marty St. Louis on the Rangers “was a big factor” in his decision.
“Him and I kept in touch. Unfortunately, with the passing of his mom, we talked through that. Him going to the Final, me being a UFA. We kept in touch. I’m not going to be the oldest guy on the team, that’s also why I wanted to go. Marty is definitely a big reason. Him and I have had similar careers. It’s a great opportunity to play with him,” he said, via Rangers Rants.
“There’s a lot of talk about his age and my age. Marty and I will only thrive.”
As we’ve noted before here, free agency has shifted from the highest bidders to things like relationships with coaches, players an executives, geography and other things that used to color a decision but not overly influence it. Boyle’s another example of a player that left money on the table – and potentially minutes played as well – for the intangibles the Rangers offered.
Including, of course, that he won’t be the oldest guy on the team.