Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Boyle-ing over for Lightning?
Posted Jul 3, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Jul 3, 2008 at 12:38 AM
These Dan Boyle rumors just won’t go away, folks. And if there’s anything I’ve learned in the short term with the new Lightning regime in charge, it’s that where there is smoke, there is generally fire. And when it comes to the plight of Dan Boyle in recent days, there’s enough smoke to snuff out the sun at the equator.
The latest comes from Darren Dreger at TSN stating that Lightning officials have contacted Boyle’s camp to give them a heads up that a trade may be in the works. Dreger also states that Boyle may have already been contacted to waive his no-trade clause.
Now, Boyle holds the ultimate trump card here. He just recently got married to a Tampa-area woman, the couple is expecting their first child and he is in the process of building a new house in the area. Doesn’t sound like the workings of somebody who is overly eager to relinquish his rights to stay in Tampa for the next six years (and beyond for that matter).
Now I wish I could sit here at this late hour after so many words have already been typed on this blog (see below) in the past four days and say that there is nothing to this report. But I can’t say either way. I haven’t received any kind of denial from anybody recently, either on or off the record. At the same time, I haven’t heard anybody say that this is in the works. Boyle hasn’t returned a text or voice message left for him. And his agent, George Bazos, is saying to the Canadian Press that Boyle absolutely wants to stay in Tampa, but isn’t indicating as to whether his client would be willing to waive his no-trade.
As I wrote earlier, the more I hear, the more I begin to believe what I hear. There’s just too much of this circulating, just as we heard when the Brad Richards rumors began to surface in February at the general manager’s meetings.
And, just as I wrote earlier, I think it would be a big mistake to move Boyle. You just can’t replace his skill set and the dimension he brings to the team. The team that keeps coming up in rumors is Ottawa, which is of course Boyle’s hometown. The one name that has been mentioned in more than one circle coming in return is Antoine Vermette, to which I say, WHAT???? You are going to offer one of the top defensemen in the game for Antoine freaking Vermette? Another forward? I sure hope that’s not true. If Ottawa is the team they are serious about, then Andrej Meszaros needs to be ONE of the players coming back in return. And while we’re at it, let’s talk about Chris Kelly, or Mike Fisher coming back the other way. And for good measure, let’s make sure a high draft pick returns as well.
Otherwise, keep Boyle. He means a lot to this team.
Look, Oren Koules and Len Barrie have done a terrific job in reshaping the roster to this point. They have put togehter a game plan and made it work. And I understand that with all the payroll that has been added in the past couple of days, they probably feel some of it needs to be pared back - no, it’s more like they DO feel it needs to come down - and Boyle is the easy target because of his $6.66 million annual salary for the next six years.
But you just don’t make that move only to shed payroll. If the move needs to be made, do it for hockey reasons and bring back players that are going to help your team now. Do it for a younger defensemen, do it for two young defensemen. But don’t do it just because you’re not happy with the salary figure you agreed to less than five months ago.