This afternoon, Bob McKenzie broke the news that Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is working on a deal to move Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
TB working to finalize a trade to send Brian Boyle to TOR. No trade call so nothing official yet.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 27, 2017
Corroborated by a tweet from Sportsnet:
Brian Boyle to the Leafs. Looks like it's going to happen. #NHLTrade— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) February 27, 2017
Raw Charge has been speculating that Brian Boyle will be moved for a while now. Earlier this month, we speculated that his price would increase with teams that need center depth for a hard playoff push. Given Toronto’s place in the Atlantic Division standings, they fit the bill:
Rumors have been swirling about Boyle for awhile now. He’s one of the better bottom-six options available in the market. And he’s proven he can play up in the lineup, if given support by playmaking linemates who let him shoot the puck. He’s widely viewed by fans as “just a fourth-line grinder,” but he’s got a lot better shooting and goal production that you’d expect from a player with that role.
There’s been plenty of speculation that Edmonton is interested in Boyle, and for good reason. They could use an upgrade at third line center and a little more size. He’s also a great locker room presence who has been to the Stanley Cup Final twice. When I first researched a trade of Boyle, I thought that he’d probably only get a third-round pick, maybe a second at best. But as I’ve dug deeper, I’ve realize that most of the comparables I looked at were those “just a fourth-line grinder” types, and I was probably undervaluing him a bit. With the lower perceived value of first rounders this season, it’s quite possible that Yzerman could swing a first round pick out of an Edmonton for Boyle.
Replace “Edmonton” with “Toronto,” and what might we get out of Lou Lamoriello? (As an aside, how terrifying would that negotiation be, Yzerman vs. Lamoriello? I wouldn’t want to be in the same room.)
What Toronto gets out of the deal is affordable center depth, a rental until the end of the playoffs.
It sounds like the Brian Boyle acquisition is pure rental at this stage for #leafs. He's a pending UFA earning $2M.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 27, 2017
Toronto names to keep in mind for this trade-for-a-rental include: Josh Leivo, Connor Carrick, and Frank Corrado.
We’ll continue to update this story as it develops.