In the end, Dan Boyle wanted to be a Ranger, and the Rangers wanted Dan Boyle. So as the NHL Free Agency period opened up Tuesday afternoon, the two sides got together and made it happen, agreeing to terms on a contract that will bring the veteran defenseman to Broadway.
For the soon-to-be 38-year old Boyle Tuesday’s agreement meant that he will be reunited with good friend Martin St. Louis—with whom he won the 2004 Stanley Cup championship and teamed for years with the Tampa Bay Lightning--on the Rangers, as well fulfill a long-held desire to play in New York for the Blueshirts.
As for the Rangers, aggressively adding Boyle fills a pair of voids. He will replace Anton Stralman, who signed with the Lightning on Tuesday, as a right-handed shooting defenseman on the team’s second defensive pair, and Boyle will also take over the main role as the Rangers’ top power play quarterback, replacing another one of his former Tampa Bay teammates, Brad Richards.
"Dan (Boyle) is going to bring experience, and help us on the power play," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault. "We're really happy to have him come on board"
Boyle, who scored 12 goals and totaled 36 points in 75 games this past season as a member of the San Jose Sharks, has 954 games of National Hockey League experience despite the fact that he went undrafted out of the University of Miami-Ohio. In his career Boyle has scored 144 goals and notched 561 points, including a career-high 20 goals and 63 points with the Lightning in 2006-07.
In 15 NHL seasons with the Florida Panthers, Lightning and Sharks Boyle has recorded 50 or more points on six different occasions. Acknowledged as one of the league’s top offensive defenseman, Boyle has not slowed down in recent years—posting 20 points in 46 games during the lockout-shortened season of 2013, and 48 in 81 games two seasons ago with the Sharks. In nine of his 15 years in the league Boyle has led his team’s defensemen in scoring, including last season in San Jose.
Boyle also has extensive experience in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which includes winning a ring with the Lightning in 2004. That spring he had ten points in 23 post-season matches; and in his career Boyle 70 points in 107 playoff games.
The veteran defender, who also helped Canada win a gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics, had his rights acquired by the Islanders from San Jose in the days leading up to the July 1st start of free agency, but opted not to sign on Long Island. Instead, today, he chose to the team 20 or so miles to the west, the one in Manhattan, the one he had long hoped he could play.
Dan Boyle is now a Ranger.