The New York Rangers have reached an agreement with veteran defenseman Dan Boyle on a two-year, $9 million contract.
The Rangers later confirmed Boyle's signing on the team website.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post provided information about the signing:
Post has learned Rangers have signed Dan Boyle to two year deal worth $9M— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) July 1, 2014
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun and Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press report that Boyle left money on the table:
Dan Boyle left a lot of money on the table elsewhere, really wanted to be with Rangers— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 1, 2014
Boyle spent the past six seasons with the San Jose Sharks. He scored at least seven goals in each of those campaigns and topped double digits three times, including this past season (12). His continued production despite heading into what is normally the twilight of a career was impressive.
Mike Brehm of USA Today passed along comments from Boyle's agent, George Bazos, after the deal and he made it clear they were still keeping their options open:
We'll definitely talk. It's impossible to characterize which way the talks will go and what Dan will decide to do.
(Pending free agents are) always excited to see what their options are, come July 1, but at the same time, it's exciting when a team steps up and trades for you as well.
Clearly the sides weren't able to reach an agreement and Boyle hit the free-agent market.
The biggest question was what Boyle was looking for in a new deal. Was he simply looking for the best offer or was Stanley Cup contention going to emerge as a key factor at this stage of his career, as is the case for many veterans.
Despite the possibility of a drop-off in performance during his age-37 season, he remained a coveted commodity as a leader and power-play weapon in San Jose.
Sean Gentille of the Sporting News offered the following assessment of Boyle's current impact:
Boyle, at 38, will be a relatively short-term solution for whoever he signs with, but he's still an effective player. He had 12 goals and 24 assists last season, played effective power play minutes and still averaged 21:16 a game. San Jose controlled 53.0 percent of all 5-on-5 shot attempts while he was on the ice.
Ultimately, he isn't playing on the same level he did during his prime, when he once scored 35 goals over a two-year span with the Tampa Bay Lightning. But the high number of teams looking to upgrade their special teams ensured he would have a strong market.
What do you think of the signing?
Now that he has found his new home, the pressure is on to keep fending off Father Time. While Boyle hasn't shown any signs of a major decline in play, at some point even the more reliable players start to fade as the physical toll adds up.
Assuming he can continue to avoid that fate in the short term, Boyle should provide around 20 minutes per night of solid defense and key power-play contributions. That would be enough to justify the investment at the very least.
In the end, Boyle is a stopgap measure in the big picture, but he should be a very good one.