Pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Dan Boyle may be getting up there in years, but he remains a solid veteran player that more than a few teams could be interested in when the free agent market opens up July 1. The New York Islanders tried to be the first ones in by trading a conditional draft pick for Boyle's negotiating rights, but the soon-to-be former San Jose Sharks rearguard reportedly doesn't have much interest in signing there.
All signs are pointing to Boyle hitting the open market on July 1. One of the teams that could be in the running to acquire his services is the Toronto Maple Leafs and the interest may be mutual according to TSN's Darren Dreger.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are high on Dan Boyle's list. He's expected to alert Islanders GM Garth Snow at some point this week as to whether or not he intends to negotiate with the Islanders with the possibility of staying there after New York made the trade for his negotiating rights. I know that the Islanders have already made an offer but there is no negotiation. Boyle wants a two-year deal, and the money might be more than the Leafs are willing to pay but they definitely have interest.
Even at Boyle's age and his reported demands of a two-year contract, he still should be a valued defenseman in a rather weak UFA market on defense. The Maple Leafs already have a lot of money tied up, which could make this match challenging if it gets to that point, but Boyle would help a relatively poor Toronto defense at least temporarily.
The Islanders meanwhile could really use a solid veteran with postseason experience. If Boyle doesn't view them as a contender, however, it would make sense that he would want to look elsewhere.
In actuality, neither the Maple Leafs nor the Islanders appear very close to competing for championships at this point, so it wouldn't be terribly shocking if Boyle ended up with neither.
The question for Boyle is how much he is willing to give up in terms of dollars to go to a contending team. It will likely be clubs looking to bolster weak lineups where Boyle will find the term he seeks.
No matter where he goes, Boyle is one of the more intriguing UFA options out there this summer as he can still contribute and has a lot of valuable experience.