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The Dan Boyle Effect on the Tampa Bay Lightning

Dan Boyle was a tremendous offensive defenseman for the Lightning during their run to the 2004 Stanley Cup. He'll forever be remembered fondly in Tampa, but his impact has gone on past his playing days.

Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Late last season, I wrote an article here on Raw Charge about the ripples and the continuing impact of the Martin St. Louis/Ryan Callahan trade. Over the summer, some of the staff kicked around some ideas about other trades and what they had meant to the team over time. The biggest name that kept coming up on the list was defenseman Dan Boyle. He ended up being a key piece of the puzzle to winning the 2004 Stanley Cup and it turned out that the impact of trading him away has continued on into the current iteration of the Bolts. It's also just good timing that he is coming to town with the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

It all started in 2002 when the Lightning sent a fifth round pick to the Panthers for Dan Boyle, a defenseman that Florida had signed in 1998 as a NCAA free agent from Miami University (the one in Ohio). While he put up terrific numbers in college and then in the pros in the IHL and AHL, he wasn’t translating his skills to the NHL with Florida.

In need of a defenseman, the Lightning picked him up during the 2001-2002 season on January 7th, 2002. He would finish out the season contributing 20 points in 41 games for the Lightning. What Tampa Bay ended up finding was a right handed defenseman with incredible offense that could lead the power play. Ever since his departure from the team, the Lightning have searched for that replacement (and may have finally found it in prospect Anthony DeAngelo).

When you have a good player that ends up getting traded, it often produces ripples through your organization that can last years. That is exactly what's happened to the Lightning organization with regards to Dan Boyle.

Price of Boyle

First, what did we give up for Boyle? Well, not much; a 2003 fifth round pick. It wasn’t even a pick in the upcoming draft, but two drafts away. The Panthers selected Czech born defenseman Martin Tuma with the selection. After being drafted, he came to North America and played in the OHL for two years before earning an entry level contract. Contributing 31 points in 125 OHL games, he wasn’t exactly an offensive force. The next two seasons he played in the AHL and ECHL before returning to Europe. You can always play what-ifs about if the Lightning would have selected a different player, maybe even one of the handful selected after Tuma that have turned in good NHL careers (such as Joe Pavelski, Dustin Byfuglien, or Tobias Enstrom ), but that’s not a very good exercise. If it was clear at that time those players would be as good as they have turned out, they would not have fallen that far in the draft.

What we got from Boyle as a player

Boyle was with the Lightning for parts of six seasons, including the Stanley Cup winning team in 2004. He had 439 regular season and playoff games and contributed 275 points over that span. He was the power play quarterback and with his offensive production earned a 6 year contract extension in the spring of 2008.

Yet incoming ownership, OK Hockey, was not happy with Boyle. That drama is one of the major sideshows of team history. Ownership went so far as threatening waivers on Boyle before he agreed to waive his no trade clause and accepted a trade to the San Jose Sharks where he spent the next six seasons before signing a two-year contract with the New York Rangers where he currently plays as he’s gone into the twilight of his career.

What we got from Boyle in trade

Dan Boyle was sent to San Jose with defenseman Brad Lukowich. Lukowich had been a free agent signing twice in Tampa Bay (2002 and 2007 off season),costing the Lightning nothing than his salary. In exchange the Bolts received Matt Carle, Ty Wishart, a 2009 first round pick and a 2010 fourth round pick. The fourth round pick was used on Jimmy Mullin who is still Lightning property and playing his redshirt senior season with Minnesota State University-Markato. With how he has progressed in his career, it’s doubtful he’ll be retained by the organization, much less make any impact in the NHL. From there, things start to go a little crazy as the other three assets were eventually traded and the tree gets pretty big. So, follow along, as this is going to be quite the ride.

Matt Carle’s Branch

Carle played 11 games with Tampa before being traded to the Flyers with a third round pick for Steve Eminger, Steve Downie, and a 2009 fourth round pick. Eminger eventually was traded to Florida for Noah Welch (who left at the end of the season in free agency) and a 2009 third round pick. That third round pick was traded with a 2009 second rounder to the Red Wings for a 2009 first round pick (#29 overall) used on Carter Ashton. Ashton was traded in 2012 to the Maple Leafs for defenseman Keith Aulie. Aulie played in 79 NHL games with Tampa over three seasons and was eventually non-tendered. The 2009 fourth round pick was used on Alex Hutchings. Hutchings bounced around the AHL and ECHL after earning an ELC. He went to Europe in 2014-15 and is currently playing in the Swedish second league.

The trade of Carle looks to have petered out and not produced much, until you look at forward Steve Downie and how he's factored in.

Downie played 231 games with the Lightning, often lining up beside Steven Stamkos. He was a bull in a china shop and a spark plug. He being relied on to play much bigger than his listed 5’11", 190 pound size.

The best days of his career were with the Bolts (his career year being 2009-10 with 22 goals, 24 assists, and 208 penalty minutes)(, but it was clear that he did not quite fit the vision of a top six forward under GM Steve Yzerman. So, with the team out of contention in 2011-12, Yzerman traded Downie to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Kyle Quincey and immediately flipped Quincey to Detroit for Sebastien Piche and a 2012 first round pick. Piche spent another season in the ECHL but ultimately moved to the Austrian league where he currently plays. That first round pick however turned into a young Russian goalie by the name of Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Ty Wishart’s Branch

Wishart’s branch isn’t as diverse as Matt Carle’s. However, he still ended up being used in an important deal for the team. Wishart played five NHL games in his three seasons with the Lightning organization, the rest of the time with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL. On New Years Day 2011 he was traded to the New York Islanders in exchange for goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Roloson was the missing piece during the 2010-11 season, providing much needed consistency in net. The Bolts had had little consistency there, getting a good performance out of Mike Smith during the 2008-09 season, but otherwise struggling to find a true number one goalie after Nikolai Khabibulin left.

Roloson led the team all the way to game seven of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals and returned for another season with the Bolts. Unfortunately, his performance declined and so did the talent level of the team around him. Still, Roloson is now an important part of the club’s history. His performance provided key playoff experience to franchise cornerstones Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.

2009 First Round Pick Branch

The selection (which became the 26th overall)  was dealt in the summer of 2008 to the Ottawa Senators (along with Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard) for defenseman Andrej Meszaros. Meszaros was immediately signed to a six year contract extension. Meszaros provided a veteran blue line presence, but did not live up to his previous performances and was traded in 2010 to Philadelphia for a 2012 second round pick. That selection was eventually traded with Sebastien Caron, another 2012 second and a 2013 third for goalie Anders Lindback, Kyle Wilson and a 2012 seventh round pick (which was used for Nikita Gusev who currently plays in the KHL and is Lightning property). Kyle Wilson was traded to the Ducks for Dan Sexton who later left for Europe when he became a restricted free agent.

Lindback was acquired in the belief that he could become the Lightning's starting goalie, but never quite panned out and partially led to the acquisition of Ben Bishop. .

Conclusion

While many players and pick were acquired and moved, and few became successful for the club, there were still important impacts. The team got good play from Steve Downie and ended up using him to bring in Andrei Vasilevskiy who has the looks of an elite NHL goaltender. Dwayne Roloson was a key to the 2010-11 playoff run. And while Anders Lindback ultimately didn’t pan out, ultimately his failure was the impetus for the club acquiring Ben Bishop. Additionally, it's looking like there's still a possibility of Nikita Gusev making the move to North America, possibly as soon as the 2016 off season.

Thank you Dan Boyle for your time with the organization. You will always be remembered and loved for your role in bringing a Stanley Cup to Tampa.

Where Are They Now

* Denotes player still Tampa Bay Lightning property
^ Denotes retired, out of hockey or currently unsigned for 2015-16. Last team and league played for listed

Player Team League
Dan Boyle New York Rangers NHL
Martin Tuma^ HC Most Czech2
Brad Lukowich^ Texas Stars AHL
Matt Carle* Tampa Bay Lightning NHL
Ty Wishart Eispiraten Crimmitschau DEL2
Jimmy Mullin* Minnesota State-Mankato NCAA
Steve Eminger^ Providence Bruins AHL
Steve Downie Arizona Coyotes NHL
Noah Welch MODO Hockey SHL
Carter Ashton Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod KHL
Keith Aulie Springfield Falcons AHL
Alex Hutchings IF Bjorkloven Allsvenskan
Kyle Quincey Detroit Red Wings NHL
Sebastien Piche EHC Linz Austria
Andrei Vasilevskiy* Tampa Bay Lightning NHL
Dwayne Roloson^ Anaheim Ducks NHL
Filip Kuba^ Florida Panthers NHL
Alexandre Picard Geneve-Servette HC NLA
Andrej Meszaros Sibir Novosibirsk KHL
Sebastien Caron Hamburg Freezers DEL
Anders Lindback Arizona Coyotes NHL
Kyle Wilson MODO Hockey SHL
Nikita Gusev* SKA St. Petersburg KHL
Dan Sexton Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk KHL