Monday afternoon Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announced that the club traded forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In return the Lightning receive forward Byron Froese and a conditional second round pick in the 2017 NHL draft.
Boyle, 33, was in the final year of a three year $6 million contract. Through 54 games with the Lighting this season he’s had a relatively prolific offensive campaign with 13 goals and 22 points. He was a strong veteran presence on the ice and in the locker room that will definitely be missed by the Lightning. It’s a big get for a Toronto team with a lot of young talent push to make the NHL playoffs for the first time.
Rumors had been swirling about Boyle’s possible departure with the Edmonton Oilers coming up as a likely landing spot. Boyle found out he had been traded when he was woken up from a pregame nap. He spoke with Toronto media this afternoon and expressed mixed emotions about the trade. He mentioned that he would miss his buddies in Tampa and had kind words for the city he is leaving.
Boyle is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Lightning could reconnect with him at that time. Both parties have been vocal in their feelings for each other. For now Boyle heads to a team on the playoff track and Tampa Bay gets some much needed salary cap relief. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin are RFAs due new deals after the season concludes.
Froese, 25, has played in 2 games for the Leafs this season. He’s played in 48 games for the Toronto Marlies where he registered 24 goals, 39 points and 18 penalty minutes. He leads the Marlies in goals as well as points and is the AHL’s third highest goal scorer. He is currently injured and will not be able to join the Syracuse Crunch this weekend. Crunch GM Julien Brisebois did say the injury is not long term.
The 2017 conditional pick will be the highest second round pick the Maple Leafs hold or previously acquired selections from either Ottawa or San Jose.
(Feature Photo/Christine Gunn)