Toronto Maple Leafs acquired versatile veteran forward Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for F Byron Froese and a 2nd round draft pick on Monday, a deal that works out well for both sides.
Toronto Maple Leafs management gave their young group a vote of confidence on Monday making a depth addition as the club finds themselves immersed in an unexpected playoff race.
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They acquired 32-year-old veteran forward Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forward Byron Froese and a 2017 2nd round draft pick.
Maple Leafs get F Brian Boyle
Lightning get F Byron Froese, 2017 2nd Round Draft Pick
Believe it or not, the versatile bottom-six forward has appeared in more NHL playoff games (100 games total) since 2011 than any other player in the league. He brings veteran leadership, a winning attitude, and best of all, no long-term financial commitment. Although, if Toronto likes what they see, they could negotiate an affordable extension and in all likelihood, would have enough room to protect him in the expansion draft, if necessary.
Dec 22, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Brian Boyle (11) against the St. Louis Blues during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
It’s also important to note that he fills a need. The Maple Leafs needed a bit of help up the middle, and with 53 percent efficiency on the year, Boyle can win face-offs.
While I could speak volumes to his presence on the ice, I feel like this deal has a lot to do with what he brings off the ice as well. Here’s a guy that has enjoyed a long NHL career in a bottom-six role and knows what it takes attitude wise, and what’s expected of him on a nightly basis. Boyle is touted as a character guy, who in all honesty, is the perfect individual to have around this young group of Leafs players. It’s a guy they can learn from. Heck, maybe he even takes a couple of these guys under his wing over the next couple of months.
Long story short, this can only be good for the Toronto Maple Leafs. After all, Byron Froese kinda got lost in the shuffle after a good showing in 2015-16 and there’s not much room for him anyways. Giving up a 2nd rounder is pretty big in today’s NHL, but it doesn’t matter so much when you consider Toronto has three second rounders in 2017. Once all is said and done, they’ll still have a 2nd round selection.
From a Lightning point of view, you’ve also got to be happy with the deal. Tampa Bay has done an outstanding job finding quality talent in the draft. In fact, you might argue they have too much top-6/top-9 talent with the likes of Brett Howden, Anthony Cirelli, and Mitchell Stephens still on the way. One thing they don’t have a plethora of in that prospect pool is bottom-six center depth. Froese fills that need. And again, GM Steve Yzerman works his magic adding another draft pick.
Ever wonder how the Chicago Blackhawks constantly manage to fill gaps with young players? It’s a recipe similar to the one Steve Yzerman and TB have been cooking up for the last half-decade or so.
All in all, this is one of those rare deals where both sides should be thrilled. It’s a low-risk trade that likely won’t yield a “winner”, but instead, fills a need for both clubs. Just don’t be surprised if both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning continue to be active over the next 36 hours or so leading up to the deadline.
For Toronto, more depth additions are entirely possible. I wouldn’t expect them to give up any more draft picks (unless it’s a late one). If they can acquire some help by giving up something similar to the Isles deal last summer where they gave up some prospects they didn’t feel had a future with the organization anymore, then a trade may be had.
For Tampa Bay, they seem to be in seller’s mode. It’s not a traditional seller giving up significant pieces since a healthy Steven Stamkos could go a long way to helping this team, but don’t be surprised if they continue to make moves. They’re in tough with the expansion draft right now. With a 7-3-1 protection scheme, their forwards are virtually locked in with Steven Stamkos (NMC), Valtteri Filppula (NMC), Ryan Callahan (NMC), Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Jonathan Drouin. They could look to move Filppula in hopes of making room for Alex Killorn on the protection list. Other possibilities include Vladislav Namestnikov and J.T. Brown, both of which promise to be left exposed. They’ve also got some contracts on the back end that could be moved.
In other words, keep a close eye on both of these organizations leading up the 3pm deadline on Wednesday. Something tells me this is just the calm before the storm. All signs point to further movement.