2014 NHL Offseason: Dan Boyle, Dallas Star
The San Jose Sharks dealt the rights to sign defenseman Dan Boyle to the New York Islanders. When he inevitably spurns the Islanders would he be a good fit in Dallas?
The Dallas Stars powerplay generated shots, but it could use some work.
The Stars had six players who played significant minutes with right shots in 2014. Ray Whitney and Stephane Robidas are gone. Rich Peverley might never play again. Tyler Seguin, Alex Chiasson, and Colton Sceviour remain as the only right shots. All three are forwards.
It would be very beneficial if the Stars could acquire a player who could seamlessly slide into this fairly specific role. A useful upgrade would be a right shot defenseman with experience running a powerplay.
Fortunately, such a player exists in soon-to-be 38 year old Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks. I would put New York Islanders given that the Sharks traded his rights to Brooklyn Thursday for a conditional late round pick, but why bother? It seems questionable at best that he would sign with the Isles.
He fits a couple criteria for what the Stars need. It isn't a perfect marriage though. The obvious downside is that he will be 38 when the season starts. He also reportedly wants multiple years. Do the Stars want to give two years to another 38 year old? Sergei Gonchar is still on the roster, though that could change very soon.
I started this profile with the idea that Boyle would be a solid acquisition for the Stars. The similarities with Our Soviet Friend have quickly soured me on the prospect. The Sharks didn't go full "you're terrifying in your own end please stop" with Boyle like the Stars did with Gonchar, but he was the least relied upon defenseman on the Sharks roster. He had the highest percentage of offensive zone starts, the lowest quality of competition, and among the lowest totals of penalty killing minutes of all Shaks defenders.
Offensively Boyle was slightly more effective at even strength than Scott Hannan. Boyle produced .77 points/60 minutes compared to .70 for Hannan. Both were better than Gonchar. Boyle was a hair more productive than Jordie Benn in easier minutes. Half of Boyle's production came on the powerplay, a powerplay which wasn't much more productive than the Stars unit.
The more you look at it the more you can understand why the Sharks would move on from the aging defenseman. The early playoff exit makes the move easier for the fanbase to swallow, but it was probably the right move to make regardless of how they finished the season. There are numerous ways a team, especially a team in the Sharks position, could spend over five million dollars in a more efficient way.
He may not be elite, but spending that money on a younger player like Matt Niskanen makes quite a bit more sense.
So, should the Stars sign Boyle? I don't think so. I doubt it would work out much better than the Gonchar contract, though it probably wouldn't be quite that bad. The upside just isn't there to me, and he's going to get worse as he continues aging. The Stars paid enough money for older under-performing players in 2014 as they tried to bridge the gap with depth until the young depth arrives.
That depth is on the doorstep. Signing an aging veteran like Dan Boyle isn't likely to make enough of an impact to warrant the cost.