Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Rumblings: Dan Boyle back on the market
By Pierre LeBrun
The New York Islanders were aggressive in trading for the rights to blueliner Dan Boyle, but after failing to get his signature on a contract, the NHL club is now shopping him before he walks away as an unrestricted free agent.
"I don’t know if we’ll get anything done, but we'll see what's out there," Islanders GM Garth Snow told ESPN.com early Wednesday afternoon. "We've talked to a couple of teams, we'll see if anything comes to fruition here."
The San Jose Sharks will get a fifth-round pick in 2015 in exchange for trading Boyle’s rights to the Islanders earlier this month. That pick would have changed to a fourth-rounder had Boyle signed with the Islanders.
Snow is smart to cut bait now because there's less than week a left before other teams can reach out to any UFAs.
New to the CBA is a talking period when clubs can contact pending UFAs from other teams, which this year is as of 12:01 a.m. ET June 25, five days out from the official opening of free agency on July 1.
No formal offers can be tabled but the ground can certainly be set.
The Islanders made their best pitch to Boyle and give him plenty to consider.
"Garth's done a great job, he's kept us abreast of everything along the way, we understand he's got to protect his interests," Boyle's agent, George Bazos, told ESPN.com. "That being said, we haven't closed the door on talking to them. The Islanders gave Dan a lot to think about."
Boyle turns 38 on July 12 but remains a terrific skater who can help with the transition game and power play.
The risk is that any contract signed by a player 35 or over counts against a team's salary cap, regardless of whether the entire deal is played out. But there's no question Boyle will continue to seek out a two-year deal in whatever contract he signs.
Sticking with the Islanders, Snow had hoped to bring back veteran goalie Evgeni Nabokov to back up new starter Jaroslav Halak, but the GM says that's unlikely to happen.
"We couldn’t come to an agreement, it looks like he's headed to July 1," Snow said of Nabokov.
Leino, Booth clear waivers
Ville Leino and David Booth had their buyouts made official Wednesday after both players cleared waivers. With money in their pocket, both wingers get to double-dip now and test free agency come July 1.
"His first priority is to play in the NHL," Leino's agent, Markus Lehto, said Wednesday. "He knows he's an NHLer. He knows the numbers haven't really been there for the past year. But he had had some health issues, he's totally healthy now. We'll see what happens, it's going to be interesting."
As part of the buyout, Leino will earn $1.22 million in each of the next six seasons; Booth's buyout will pay him $1.58 million for each of the next two seasons.
Other free-agent rumblings
No surprise, but the Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings have already reached out to Marian Gaborik's camp to try to get something done to keep the pending UFA in the fold. Gaborik led all players in goals in the playoffs, with 14. ... Veteran blueliner Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens remains unsigned as the clock ticks toward July 1. "No news. I don't expect anything to happen anytime soon," Markov's agent, former NHLer Sergei Berezin, told ESPN.com via text Wednesday morning. "But you never know." ... Veteran agent Steve Bartlett remains in talks with the Tampa Bay Lightning about pending UFA Ryan Callahan: "Good-faith talks with Tampa continue, hard to handicap at this point," Bartlett said via email Wednesday morning. ... The NHLPA's annual summer player meetings, presided over by Donald Fehr, will be held July 14-17 in Pebble Beach, California, to discuss issues raised during the season. An official agenda has yet to be set.