To hear Dan Boyle explain it, the lure of Broadway was too much to pass on.
“That’s where I wanted to go. That is the simplest way I can put it,” Boyle said on Monday, nearly a week after signing a two-year, $9M deal with the New York Rangers (per CBC). “Once I found out I was done in San Jose, that’s the team that kind of jumped out. That’s the team that I’ve always been curious about.
“I’ve played in Florida and California — two nontraditional hockey markets. Those places were great, but I just wanted to experience something different. An Original Six team. You can make more money elsewhere, but at the end of the day you’ve got to be happy.”
Boyle, 37, garnered considerable interest after the Sharks let him walk following six years in the Bay Area. Even though he’s not the Olympic-caliber defenseman he once was and appeared to have lost a step, Boyle’s offensive ability — his 12 goals tied for 12th among NHL d-men last year — and a free agent market thin on right-handed blueliners made him a hot commodity, so much so that New York’s other team, the Islanders, traded for his negotiating rights during the Stanley Cup Final.
When Boyle didn’t reach a deal with the Isles, other suitors came forth. Toronto, Montreal, Detroit and Tampa Bay were believed to be in the mix but in the end, the allure of playing at Madison Square Garden proved too great.
It was an interesting development, to be sure. For as decorated as Boyle’s career has been — a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and two second-team All-Star honors — his career has been spent in the sunshine…and occasionally against his own terms. He broke in with the Panthers in ’98, then got traded to Tampa Bay for virtually nothing (a fifth-round pick, which Florida used to select the immortal Martin Tuma).
Four years after winning a Cup with the Bolts, he was dealt to San Jose in 2008 under less-than-ideal circumstances.
Boyle, who turns 32 next weekend, went on a premature honeymoon to Hawaii shortly after the Lightning’s awful season ended. He got married just two weeks ago, never realizing he was about to change teams after signing a six-year, $40 million deal with Tampa Bay in February.
The Lightning’s new ownership group was eager to rid itself of Boyle’s large contract, but he only found out this week after flying home for Canada Day festivities.
“I don’t have the nicest things to say about what happened, but I don’t want to dwell on this,” Boyle said in a phone interview from his Ontario cottage. “I was misled and disrespected, and it was really not the right way to do a lot of things. I don’t have anything good to say about how all this went down.”
Boyle agreed to waive his no-trade to join the Sharks, though he was obviously pushed to a certain degree. That’s possibly why he relished this latest opportunity to call his own shot by signing with the Rangers.
To hear Boyle speak about it, he sounds pleased — even though things didn’t end tremendously well in San Jose.
“There’s a lot of stuff that was shared and said behind closed doors. That’s where it’s going to stay,” Boyle said of his departure from the Sharks. “I wanted to be on an Original Six team, and the Rangers were the team that I wanted to go to.”