Teams line up for Boyle
The Senators always have been on the top of the list of teams expected to make a run at Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle. They are in his hometown of Ottawa, which leads some to believe he might actually waive his no-trade clause to go there. The team also lost puck-moving defenseman Wade Redden to free agency, so there is a big hole there to fill.
But there apparently are more teams interested than the Senators. It is believed the list includes the Sharks, who lost Brian Campbell to free agency, Canucks, Flyers, Islanders and Thrashers. There could be others but these seem the most likely right now.
The Thrashers are an interesting entry since they just signed free agent defenseman Ron Hainsey from the Blue Jackets. But back to Atlanta for a second, it is intriguing that they have one of the best young blue-liners in the league in Tobias Enstrom, who had 33 assists last season and four power play goals. Is there a match there for Tampa Bay? And does the Lightning really want Boyle perhaps haunting them within the division? Just asking.
The Sharks also have some options that could come the other way in a trade. Defenseman Matt Carle had a huge 2006-07 with 11 goals and 42 points, though the Hobey Baker Award winner out of the University of Denver saw his production fall sharply last season. Christian Ehrhoff probably has less upside but scored 10 goals in 2006-07.
The Islanders have the cap space and some extra draft picks, something the Lightning could use, and Islanders coach Ted Nolan apparently loves Boyle as a player. But New York doesn't have much on the back line. There best blue-liner who could join the rush is likely Chris Campoli, who is cheap ($625,000) and missed half of last season with a shoulder injury.
The Flyers need defensemen but have no cap space to take a big contract, and Vancouver, while well under the cap, doesn't have much to offer in terms of puck-moving blue-liners.
Either way, Boyle has said he is not inclined to waive his no-trade clause, but doing so could be risky as it is believed Tampa Bay could at some point put him on waivers and expose him to the entire league. If Boyle agrees to a trade, at least he has some control over where he ends up. So it's not a stretch to believe while the Lightning is trying to get something done on multiple fronts, Boyle is doing some research to see where might be the best fit.
Neither Boyle nor his agent, George Bazos, were available for comment Thursday afternoon.