What New York Rangers Should Expect from Free Agent Signing Dan Boyle

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IJuly 1, 2014

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 20:  Dan Boyle #22 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the Los Angeles Kings in Game Two of the First Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 20, 2014 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The New York Rangers made their first major signing of the free agent frenzy by inking veteran defenseman Dan Boyle to a two-year deal worth $9 million, according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN. 

The veteran reporter also noted that the new member of the Blueshirts left significant money on the table.

The deal includes a no-move clause, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, but on a two-year deal that won't really matter too much. Many fans will look at this deal and scoff, understandably so.

Boyle is turning 38 in two weeks, and he's clearly lost a step. This is a clear move to replace departing defender Anton Stralman, so what should the Rangers expect from Boyle?

Alain Vigneault and Glen Sather should expect Boyle to slot in as a second-pairing defender. He played over 20:00 last season with the San Jose Sharks, and with the Rangers, he could play around 16:00 minutes in that role at even strength.

The rest of his ice time will come via the power play.

Boyle is a veteran power-play quarterback, and he will fill the void left by former 2004 Stanley Cup teammate Brad Richards. Last season, he tallied 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points. Half of Boyle's goals came on the power play, and that is exactly the type of the production the Rangers could use from the back end on the man advantage.

During the playoffs, the Rangers lacked offense from their defensemen not named Ryan McDonagh, and the power play hiccuped several times before the Los Angeles Kings eliminated them in five games during the Stanley Cup Final.

By no means is this the Dan Boyle of 2004, 2008 or even 2012. He is an older guy, but he still is a great puck distributor and a veteran leader. He can fill an important role on the Rangers.

If anything, Boyle is a stopgap defender that can help the Rangers for the next two years until one of the kids is ready to carry the torch.

Obviously the Rangers would have loved to keep Stralman, but Boyle is a decent replacement option that could really add some offense to the power play and the blue line. It will be interesting to see what the Rangers continue to do as the free agent frenzy continues, but this is an average deal when you consider what the current free agent market looks like.