The Toronto Maple Leafs are buyers.
Update: The deal is official. In return, the Lightning get 25-year-old forward Byron Froese and a 2017 conditional second-round pick.
From the press release:
The conditional pick in 2017 will be the highest second-round choice between the Maple Leafs’ own or previously acquired selections from either San Jose or Ottawa.
Boyle, 32, is a pending unrestricted free agent. Given the Lightning are fairly well back of a playoff spot and have a number of young pending RFAs — including Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin — it makes sense for GM Steve Yzerman to trade Boyle now, a la Ben Bishop.
Boyle has 13 goals and nine assists in 54 games this season. He also has a ton of experience, having appeared in 100 postseason games for the Rangers and Lightning.
The Leafs are not assured of a playoff spot quite yet. Barely clinging to the second wild-card spot in the East, they kick off a three-game California trip tomorrow in San Jose.
Another Canadian team, the Edmonton Oilers, was also reportedly interested in Boyle.