WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: Dan Boyle #22 of the San Jose Sharks skates down the ice against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on January 14, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Report: Leafs have ‘serious’ interest in Boyle


Teams are now allowed to reach out to players eligible to become unrestricted free agents this summer and several clubs have exercised that option to talk to Dan Boyle. The New York Rangers and Toronto are among those franchises, with the Maple Leafs interest being termed as “serious,” according to ESPN.

“Good deal of interest, there are going to be good options for him,” Boyle’s agent George Bazos said. “We’ll sift through it the next few days and see where it all leads.”

Boyle, who will turn 38 on July 12, is looking for a two-year deal and Bazos is confident that he’ll be able to secure one for his client. The defenseman had 12 goals and 36 points in 75 games in 2013-14.

If the Maple Leafs are able to get Boyle, then that might further the discussion about using Jake Gardiner as a forward. The Rangers’ desire to get Boyle might ultimately be tied into their negotiations with pending unrestricted free agent Anton Stralman.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.