Double, double, Boyle and trouble
Dan Boyle's $40-million contract was about as nutty as they come when it was signed four months ago, but the craziest thing about the whole ordeal these days is that there's apparently quite a market for his services at that ticket.
Here's what I said in this space when he signed the deal just before the trade deadline (a contract given at the request of the new ownership group, which is now requesting that he leave town despite the no-trade clause he was given):
The cap hit's a steep figure for an offensive defenceman who is going to be 32 in July and is coming off of a gruesome, freak wrist injury that has kept him out of all but 17 games this season. Boyle's a great puckmover, but I can't imagine that'll be the case in 2013-14.The Lightning's company line at the time? "This signing demonstrates the commitment of current and prospective ownership to ice a championship calibre team in Tampa," said GM/puppet Jay Feaster.
He's really only had three truly productive NHL seasons, was never drafted and is undersized for his position.
Tampa Bay beat writer Damian Cristodero says the three suitors for Boyle at the moment are Vancouver, Atlanta and San Jose, three curious entries given (a) the Canucks would need Boyle to play forward (b) the Thrashers have bigger needs elsewhere and aren't big spenders and (c) the Sharks just coughed up $5-million for the ghost of Rob Blake.
If he does accept a deal to either Vancouver or San Jose, a less-salaried defender is going the other way. The Canucks would like to move Kevin Bieksa (for obvious reasons given the tough year he had) and the Sharks could unload Matt Carle.
Both deals would save the Lightning roughly $3-million, although I'm unsure as to (a) why there's a great rush to unload salary when they're comfortably under the cap and (b) why downgrading on defence, as opposed to not giving Gary Roberts $2-million, is the solution.
This "trade Boyle" notion also isn't, apparently, a longstanding one, given there was considerable talk about his role on the team at the draft a few weeks ago.
It's best to not try to make sense of what goes on in Tampa these days.
If I'm Boyle, on principle, there's no way I waive the clause. His wife is from the Tampa area, is expecting a child and both want to stay there long-term.
Yes, he is well-compensated, but the clause was bargained for in good faith and should be honoured. The problem then becomes, however, that the Lightning are threatening to waive him, eliminating Boyle's ability to control where he goes.
What a mess.
We'll know Friday whether he stays or goes.
UPDATE Boyle's waived the no-trade clause for a deal to San Jose. I'll have another post on that in the near future.
(Macbeth's pretty fitting for the headline on this one. After all, it's the archetypal story "of the dangers of the lust for power and the betrayal of friends.")