Boychuk an ‘obvious’ long-term fit for Isles, says Snow

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Isles GM Garth Snow doesn’t like to talk specifics about contract negotiations, but came relatively close¬† this week in discussing pending UFA defenseman Johnny Boychuk.

“We wouldn’t move two second-round picks — that’s pretty significant — if we didn’t want to have him here long term,” Snow explained, per SNY TV. “We’re not going to talk publicly, I never have regarding contract negotiations, but I think the telltale sign is when you give up what we gave up to get [Boychuk], he would obviously fit into our long-term plans.”

Snow has some history locking defensemen up long-term, having inked Travis Hamonic to a seven-year, $27 million deal last July. That said, Boychuk will likely cost more than Hamonic’s tidy $3.8M cap hit — he’s on the verge of unrestricted free agency, in a class that’s projects to be relatively light on talent. Boychuk’s at or near the top of a list that includes Mike Green, Paul Martin, Christian Ehrhoff, Marc Staal, Francois Beauchemin and Cody Franson, with no guarantees all (or, any) of them hit the market.

Early speculation figures Boychuk could garner as much as $6 million annually on the open market — a nice bump from the $3.3M he’s making currently — so the Isles would have to pay up. But Boychuk is optimistic about signing an extension and Snow made it very clear he wants to retain the former Bruins blueilner (who, it must be mentioned, currently sits tied for 12th among all NHL defensemen in points, with six.)