Hate To See You Go
It’s never easy to watching a player leave an organization especially when they are the caliber of Dan Boyle. The departure of Boyle after six seasons in San Jose was something that many Sharks fans could see coming but not admit to themselves. Even before Doug Wilson announced publicly that Dan Boyle would not be offered a new contract it was obvious Dan Boyle would not return to the Bay Area. Was it because of the disastrous collapse to the Kings in round 1? Was it because of Dan Boyle’s post-game interviews and press conferences? Was it simply because the San Jose Sharks would not be willing to pay the amount of money he would want for a new contract?
All of these reasons indeed strengthened the case to not bring back one of the best undrafted defensemen in NHL history but they were not the defining factor. The departure of Dan Boyle can be attributed to only one thing, he simply is no longer the same Dan Boyle that Sharks fans fell in love with back in 2009. Boyle has lost a step and over the past two seasons and it has not gone unnoticed.
The Sad Truth
The past two seasons Boyle’s age has started to catch up to him. He no longer plays on the PK unit for San Jose and struggled to quarterback the PP unit that earned him such merit across the NHL. His shots on net and missed shots both decreased showing an overall decline in total shot attempts. Overall his blocked shot totals decreased but increased while on the powerplay showing that the team gave up more shorthanded chances than usual. The past two seasons the Sharks powerplay has declined from, 2nd in 2012 to 20th in 2014, which can be aligned with Boyle’s own decline. He has lost the ability to make flawless zone entries, precision passes, top notch stick handling and evasive skating maneuvers. Gone is the top defensemen who for a time should have been a finalist for a Norris trophy at least once.
Thank You Dan Boyle
Dan Boyle was traded to the Islanders for a conditional 5th round draft pick which turns into a 4th if he signs with the team. It appears that Boyle does not want to play for the Islanders which sounds like a familiar story. Still San Jose managed to get some value out of Boyle instead of letting him walk away on July 1st. At the end of the day Boyle was one of the best Sharks defensemen in history and fans will always remember the six great years he spent in San Jose. He helped bring the team to two Western Conference Finals, a Presidents Trophy and was the backbone for possibly the best defensive core the team ever had. For that we wish you luck wherever you end up, unless it is Los Angeles.