Not just a contract negotiation
By working on a contract extension for defenseman Dan Boyle, the Lightning also are trying to determine whether it will have to trade him by the Feb. 26 deadline. Tampa Bay wants Boyle. That is, it appears he is wanted by Hollywood producer Oren Koules, who is expected this week to sign a purchase agreement to buy the team from Palace Sports & Entertainment. By negotiating now, the team has about three weeks to see if the numbers are going to work. If not, better to trade him and get some depth into the organization with what can be reaped?
How much is Boyle worth? Consider the other big contracts signed last summer by fellow puck-moving defensemen. Brian Rafalski signed with the Red Wings a contract that pays him $6-million a season for five season. Timmo Kimonen signed a six-year deal with the Flyers that pays an average $6.33-million. Neither matched Boyle's 20 goals and 63 points from last season. With that in mind, it is not inconceivable that Boyle asks for $7-million a season.
With $20-million tied up in Vinny Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Marty St. Louis, and with GM Jay Feaster on record as wanting to acquire a No. 1 goalie, that number could be hard to swallow. But does Tampa Bay then trade Boyle or perhaps it trades others to create the space needed to keep him.
Anyway, more about this in tomorrow's paper. Just interesting how this might play out. But as former Whalers assistant GM Pierre McGuire, now a television analyst for Canada's TSN, said:
"This is how business is done in the NHL. You get aggressive when it's an important players and you want to make sure you don't lose him for nothing. 'We want you here.' But if you find the player's numbers and self-assessment doesn't match yours, you probably have to go in a different direction.''