Isles Acquire Dan Boyle's Rights
The Islanders acquired the rights to veteran defenseman Dan Boyle Thursday afternoon for a conditional draft pick, a stunning move that caught most of the team's fans off-guard. The soon to be free agent will turn 38 this summer and was already told by Sharks' management he wouldn't be back in San Jose next season.
His production has declined the past few seasons, but there's no question there is still some tread left on the tires. His 12 goals last season would have been far and away the most among Islander blue-liners last season. He would provide a solid stop-gap for the team and bring veteran leadership to a young unit. Boyle also has the ability to boost the 17th ranked power play of the Isles with his puck-moving and quarterbacking abilities.
Of course this assumes the Isles can sign Boyle who, according to reports, was just as surprised as we were by the move. Boyle is coming off a deal where he earned $6.67 million last season. While he should not expect to see the same salary, it's safe to assume that it will take a contract of at least two years and around $10 million in total to get Boye to sign. Who knows, they may even have to go a third year to entice him to stay.
The move also casts some doubt on the health of veteran defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky dealt with serious injury issues last year and it would not be surprising if we have seen the last of him in an Islander uniform.
If they sign Boyle they should pair him with rookie Griffin Reinhart and hopefully act as a mentor/calming influence to the Isles' prized prospect.
Even if Boyle doesn't sign, the risk (a 5th round draft pick in 2015 if he doesn't sign, 4th if he does) is well worth the reward of a veteran defenseman like Boyle. It's also refreshing to see Snow be aggressive to try and improve the team. It worked for goalie Jaroslav Halak recently, so why not try it again with Boyle?
Whether it's the threat of new ownership coming in or just pursuit to improve a last-place club, the Islanders are sending notice to its fans that mistakes were made last off-season and the club is going to attempt to fix it and hopefully make a return to the playoffs.