Early yesterday, it was noted that the San Jose Sharks are open to dealing a defenseman as long as they get a forward in return. Dan Boyle’s name immediately popped up, and the Rangers were a team already linked to the Sharks due to this defensive surplus. In a previous post, I discussed the potential defensemen the Rangers may target, and specifically focused on Douglass Murray. In the original post, Boyle wasn’t up for consideration because his contract is not expiring after this season.
Before we get into why Boyle likely won’t be destined for Broadway, let’s acknowledge that Boyle would be a welcomed addition to the Rangers. He’s a big body who is defensively capable and, most importantly, is a guy with a ton of powerplay experience who can quarterback the fledging unit. If the Rangers are truly looking for a point man, then Boyle is their guy. The fact that he actually hits people and plays decent defense is a bonus.
But, as mentioned above, the biggest issue with Boyle is his contract. Boyle’s contract expires after next season –meaning the Rangers are on the hook for one more year– with a price tag of $6.67 million per season. The Rangers are already playing with fire when it comes to next year’s cap, and adding another $6.67 million to the books doesn’t exactly help their cause.
Another problem with acquiring Boyle is that the Sharks are supposedly looking for a forward that can slide into their top-six with ease. Since the Rangers aren’t trading any of their top-six forwards, Chris Kreider, or J.T. Miller, the Rangers don’t have much that would entice the Sharks to make a deal. The Sharks are a playoff team at the moment. A prospect and a pick won’t help them.
The Rangers and the Sharks actually make decent trading partners at the moment. The Rangers, having addressed their forward depth issues, now need assistance on defense. The Sharks have defense to spare, but need help on forward. That said, the immediate returns required to land someone like Boyle would probably keep the Rangers from pulling the trigger.
As with 99% of NHL trades, the issue here is timing. The Rangers simply cannot give the Sharks what they want at this given moment. And while a trade can likely be worked out that would be fair value for both teams, it’s likely not a trade both teams would make to seal a deal. If the Rangers are to make a move for a defenseman, expect it to be for someone who is a little under the radar with a lower cost than Boyle.