The New York Islanders have made yet another impact move acquiring veteran defenseman Dan Boyle from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. Boyle, 37, is a restricted free agent this summer so the Islanders essentially acquired his negotiating rights as they did with goalie Jaroslav Halak who was recently signed to a 4-year $18 million deal.
Boyle has spent his National Hockey League career playing for the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the San Jose Sharks totaling 144 goals and 417 assists which is good for 561 career points. He is a two-time all star and helped lead the 2002-2003 Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup.
This deal seems to we a win-win for both teams. In the Sharks case, they announced after the season ended that they would not be bringing Boyle back so getting a draft pick for him was a good move by the organization. For the Islanders, it was the right move regardless of whether or not they are able to sign Boyle. If signed, the team would fill another huge need, by acquiring a veteran top-six defenseman. With the possibility of top prospect Griffin Reinhart starting the season with the team, the Islanders were in dire need of acquiring a veteran defenseman to help mentor Reinhart and get him adapted to the NHL. Boyle seems like the perfect guy for the “mentor role” as he is a great locker room presence and has established himself as a solid two-way defenseman throughout his career. If Boyle is not signed, the move still shows that Garth Snow is going to be aggressive this summer and will offer money to top-tier free agents.
Hopefully Boyle and the Islanders can come to an agreement before July 1st, which is the start of free agency. It is unknown how much money Boyle will be looking for, but if he does not sign with the Islanders before free agency, he will have plenty of teams checking in on him. Also, if the Islanders bring back goaltender Evgeni Nabokov he would definitely help with the recruitment process of bringing in Boyle. Following the trade Boyle’s agent George Bazos said to Newsday’s Arthur Staple “Dan wants to talk to some people he knows about the Islanders situation… He’s made it clear to me he’s open to any and all options.” When Boyle was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Sharks, he waived his no trade clause largely due to the fact he knew Evgeni Nabokov who was on the Sharks at the time. As of now, this is a low-risk, high-reward trade that will be fine with me no matter what happens. The Islanders are clearly heading in the right direction so fans should be looking ahead with a smile because there are good things to come.