The NHL Trade Deadline is two weeks away, and one target of the New York Rangers has been defenseman Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks – and for good reason.
The Rangers interest in Boyle was confirmed this week to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
With the Rangers still without Marc Staal – and who could very well miss a significant portion of the rest of this season due to the slapshot to his face – the Rangers desperately need to bolster their blue line corps. Roman Hamrlik, who the Rangers picked up off of waivers “coincidentally” the day after Staal’s incident, has been mediocre.
Dan Boyle has four goals and eight assists in 26 games played so far this season and would be a noticeable upgrade over trying to use Steve Eminger or Stu Bickel as a third-line defensive pair. While Bickel and Matt Gilroy have been consistently healthy scratches this season, when they have played their contributions to the team have been pretty negligible.
This is not going to cut it for Rangers fans and the franchise brass after finishing last season two wins short of a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
If there is anything to be concerned about with picking up Dan Boyle, it is his contract. He has just one year left, but an average annual value of $6.66 million.
That’s a problem for a team that has just $1.17 million in cap space to spare.
This makes the buyouts of Wade Redden and Chris Drury sting even more – who combine for roughly $7.2 million in wasted cap space. Luckily, both of their buyouts will be erased from the balance sheet as of next season.
Why Boyle would be such a strong asset to the Rangers is because he has the veteran experience and ability to quarterback a power play – something the Rangers desperately need – that could very well make the difference in each power play, game, and the standings for New York.
Boyle is also consistent: he played 81 games last season, and has only missed two this season. When health is a factor for the Rangers blue line, a healthy Boyle could mean the difference. We all saw how John Tortorella effectively benched Bickel in the postseason last year, and it forced him to overplay defensemen like Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, and Dan Girardi. They were stars of the postseason, but you can’t use five defensemen and expect to last to a Stanley Cup victory.
If the Rangers do make a move for Dan Boyle, it’s been reported that San Jose wants youth in return. The Rangers are cautious with anyone who demands youth as the core of this team – players like Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, even J.T. Miller – might not be worth parting ways with for a player who will be a UFA in a year and a half.
Marian Gaborik, who has been having a very disappointing season after a nice start, has also been a target of trade rumors in the past few weeks. Unloading Gaborik alone would free up $7.5 million in cap space, although his contract continues into next season and it might be too high for a team to bite.
Dan Boyle has a limited no-trade clause on his contract, and will only accept a trade to eight teams that he chooses. It’s unknown if the Rangers are on that list.
Boyle has made it clear, however, that being traded is not what he wants.
“This is where I want to be. I don’t want to be anywhere else,” Boyle told CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz Wednesday morning in Edmonton. “It’s not fun to hear that.”
Ultimately, if the Sharks want to deal Boyle, he may have little choice outside of eight other destinations.
If Dan Boyle does become a Ranger, he’s going to have to work out a deal with that other Boyle on the Rangers roster – Brian Boyle – about his number. Both wear no. 22.