As reported earlier, and now made official, the Tampa Bay Lightning have traded center Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In return for Boyle, the Lightning get Byron Froese and a second-round pick. Our past speculation suggested that the Lightning could get as much as a first-round pick because of the weakness of this draft. A second or third-round pick would have been likely in a lot of other seasons for a player of his ilk.
Instead, the Lightning pick up a second-round pick as well as some help for the Syracuse Crunch. The second-round pick is conditional, and will be the highest of the three second-round picks that the Toronto Maple Leafs own.
Froese was originally a fourth-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009. He is a 25-year-old center with 58 career games in the NHL, and five points. In 195 career AHL games, he has 101 points with 49 goals. He’s been doing well with the Toronto Marlies this season, putting up 24 goals and 39 points in 48 games.
Froese also does not count as a veteran in the AHL and so will be able to slot into the Syracuse Crunch lineup without causing any problems along those lines. He’ll be a big boost offensively for the Crunch as they make a push for the playoffs. His 39 points is more than all but three Crunch players this year — Matt Taormina, Cory Conacher, and Yanni Gourde. The team confirmed that Froese will be assigned to Syracuse.
CapFriendly.com currently as Froese listed as a restricted free agent after the season. However, it does not appear that he will get enough games in the NHL this season to be one unless the Lightning play him in Tampa for the rest of the season, which seems unlikely. He would have to play in all 22 of the Lightning’s remaining games to hit the 80 games needed to remain a restricted free agent.
In addition to the deal, the Lightning will assign forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to the Toronto Marlies. The Lightning will continue to pay Letourneau-Leblond, but he will play for Toronto. The Maple Leafs have shown they can get creative with the AHL in the past as evidence by the deal last season with the Ottawa Senators that included Dion Phaneuf. In that deal, a player was traded to Ottawa, but remained with the Marlies in the AHL.