Dan Boyle

Isles get Boyle’s rights from San Jose


Hey, remember that post we just wrote about the Tampa Bay Lightning possibly acquiring Dan Boyle’s rights from San Jose?

Yeah, the New York Islanders just acquired them instead.

The trade cost the Isles a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft; it becomes a fourth-rounder if Boyle signs with the club.

From the press release:

Boyle, 37, led all San Jose Sharks defensemen in points (36) and goals (12) in 75 games this past season. The Ottawa, ON, native added four assists in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

In 954 career regular-season NHL games with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose, Boyle has 561 points (144 goals, 417 assists). He ranks 46th all-time in scoring among NHL defenseman and is fourth among active defensemen. Boyle has appeared in at least 75 games in nine of the last 10 full NHL seasons.

In his 15-year NHL career, Boyle has scored 70 points (14 goals, 56 assists) in 107 career playoff games. He ranks 28th all-time in playoff scoring among NHL defensemen and is third among active defensemen. Boyle was a member of the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

The question now becomes, will Boyle sign with the Isles? In all likelihood, he’ll receive a handsome offer — money and term — to do so. But he may get a handsome offer from another team (or two or three teams) if he waits until July 1, given the market for right-shooting d-men.

Also, how important is winning a Stanley Cup to Boyle at this stage of his career? If it’s important, would he feel like he could win one with the Isles?

We’ll find out soon enough.

Related: Boyle ‘devastated’ that Sharks don’t want him back

Oilers go captain-less, name four alternates instead

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Edmonton’s made a fairly significant shift in its leadership group.

The big news is the Oilers won’t have a captain this season, as Andrew Ference will relinquish the “C” he’s worn for the last two years.

Ference will, however, remain part of the group and wear an “A” as part of a four-man alternate captain collective, one that also includes Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.

The news of Ference being removed as captain doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The veteran d-man is a well-respected leader, but isn’t expected to be in the lineup every night this season.

The decision to go without a captain, though, is something of a surprise, especially given what new head coach Todd McLellan endured during his final season in San Jose.

The Sharks’ captaincy issue — stripping Joe Thornton, then going with four rotating alternates — was an ongoing problem, something that players, coaches and GM Doug Wilson had to repeatedly address until it blew up in spectacular fashion.

That said, the circumstances in Edmonton are quite different.

It’s believed the club’s intentionally keeping the captaincy vacant, on the assumption that Connor McDavid will evolve into a superstar and, subsequently, the club’s unquestioned leader.

Finally, McLellan noted that with Eberle currently sidelined, a fifth Oiler would be added to the leadership group — veteran forward Matt Hendricks, who will serve as a temporary alternate.

Brandon Sutter didn’t have the greatest preseason

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When Brandon Sutter was acquired by the Vancouver Canucks, GM Jim Benning called the 26-year-old a “foundation piece for our group going forward.”

Sutter was quickly signed to a five-year extension worth almost $22 million, more evidence of how highly management thought of the player.

Fast forward to yesterday, when Benning was asked the following question:

“What does it say that you made the trade for Sutter, you called him a ‘foundation’ player, and it took him until the final night of the preseason to find a spot (with the Sedins) on the wing, which isn’t his natural position?”

Here was Benning’s response:

“Well, [head coach Willie Desjardins] wants to try that out, he thinks that’s going to be a good fit. At various times, the Sedins played with wingers with speed, with [Ryan Kesler], who could get in on the forecheck and had a good shot. Sutter brings some of those qualities, too.”

While all that may be true, Sutter was not signed to play the wing; he was brought in to play center, specifically on the second line. He finished the preseason with zero points in five games. And as mentioned, he’ll start the season on the wing, not his natural position.

Meanwhile, youngsters Bo Horvat, 20, and Jared McCann, 19, had outstanding camps and are expected to start the regular season (tonight in Calgary) centering the second and third lines, respectively.

Though Sutter did finish the preseason with 12 shots on goal, up there with the most on the Canucks, it’s fair to say he did not look like a “foundation” player.

“I haven’t seen him play his best,” Desjardins said last week. “I see a guy who’s big and a good skater and who understands the game real well, but just hasn’t got that involved.”

Now, we are only talking about the preseason here. New players often take time to get comfortable. Perhaps playing with the Sedins can provide Sutter with some confidence.

“I know he’ll be there and I totally believe that,” said Desjardins.

But it hasn’t been the best start, and if it wasn’t for the encouraging play of the youngsters, it would be a far bigger story in Vancouver.

Related: Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado