When longtime NHL defensemen Dan Boyle signed his two-year deal with the New York Rangers earlier this month, he didn’t just get $9 million in guaranteed salary. Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Boyle pointed out that he’s also excited to play in a major hockey media market after spending time in places less rich in tradition.
“That’s where I wanted to go. That is the simplest way I can put it,” Boyle said on Monday, nearly a week after signing a two-year, $9M deal with the New York Rangers (per CBC). “Once I found out I was done in San Jose, that’s the team that kind of jumped out. That’s the team that I’ve always been curious about.
“I’ve played in Florida and California — two nontraditional hockey markets. Those places were great, but I just wanted to experience something different. An Original Six team. You can make more money elsewhere, but at the end of the day you’ve got to be happy.”
Boyle, 37, spent the first 16 years of his career playing for the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks. While he’s had great success with those franchises, none of them play in areas historically tied to the sport. So when the New York Islanders failed to reach a deal with Boyle after acquiring his rights from the Sharks via trade, the suitors started lining up.
One of those opportunities came from the Rangers, who should be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference again next season after a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Boyle will need to play a key role in that, too, as the Rangers lost Anton Stralman to the Tampa Bay Lightning on a five-year deal at the beginning of free agency.
Last season, Boyle recorded 12 goals and 36 points over 75 games. Despite his advanced age, he remains a potent offensive player at his position and should give the Rangers an intriguing weapon assuming he can stay healthy and fit for 80-plus games.