The New Jersey Devils signed unrestricted free agent Brian Boyle to a two-year, $5.1 million contract, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Told that Leafs never made an offer. https://t.co/34khewbXpW
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2017
The 32-year-old brings a strong veteran presence to a Devils’ locker room that will be missing Michael Cammalleri and Devante Smith-Pelly as they head into the 2017-18 season. The team announced they’d bought out both contracts on Friday.
At 6’7″, 240 pounds, Boyle is a big body who can contribute physically, while also chipping in offensively and on special teams. He also adds instant depth to the Devils’ roster and loads of playoff experience. He’s played in 106 postseason contests, tallying 15 goals and 13 asssists. Boyle has also been to the Stanley Cup Final twice — with the New York Rangers in 2014 and the following year with the Lightning.
Brian Boyle’s Path to the Devils
Boyle joined the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline and tallied three assists and 18 penalty minutes in 21 games. He spent the previous two and a half seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning where he was a respected leader with his teammates. He was moved at last year’s deadline by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman to free up salary cap space heading into the summer.
In the past week leading up to free agency, there was speculation Boyle may choose to re-sign with the Lightning. “We love Tampa,” Boyle said, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. “If Tampa wanted to work out a deal, that’s definitely a huge option for us. That’s something that I’ve kind of always thought about. I haven’t closed the door on anything.” However, the Lightning reportedly never reached out to Boyle after the window to speak to UFAs opened on June 25.
Boyle was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings 26th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft but played four years at Boston College (NCAA) before he began his professional career in the American Hockey League with the Manchester Monarchs.
He debuted with the Kings during the 2007-08 season and played two seasons in Los Angeles before being traded to the Rangers at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Boyle developed into an effective two-way player over the course of five seasons in the Big Apple.
After the Rangers’ run to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, Boyle became a UFA and opted to follow his friend and former teammate, Ryan Callahan, to the Lightning. He signed a three-year, $6 million contract that summer and became part of the team’s veteran core. Together with Callahan, the two players became some of the team’s most effective penalty killers.
When he arrived in Toronto at the tail end of the 2016-17 regular season, he brought veteran leadership to a young team that earned their first playoff berth since the 2012-13 season.
In 624 regular season games, the Massachusetts native has scored 93 and 76 assists, while adding 488 penalty minutes.