Brian Boyle is becoming well-traveled. The broad-shouldered center who signed with the New Jersey Devils in 2017 and was traded to the Nashville Predators at the trade deadline last February, is again looking for a new home. Could that home actually be his real home?
An NHL source close to the situation has confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that the Hingham, MA native, and unrestricted free agent has had some discussions with the Boston Bruins to see if there is a potential fit for the gritty forward.
“I can tell you that the Bruins and Boyle have talked,” the source said.
The source did not know how far the talks have gone, but there has been some mutual interest.
Obviously, the main issues could be the Bruins having only $7.2 million in salary cap space and still have to sign restricted free agent defensemen, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
Last weekend, the Bruins offered unrestricted free agent defenseman Alex Petrovic a professional tryout, as reported by our own Alex Thomas. The Bruins are focused on filling in some depth on the right side of the blue line should McAvoy and Carlo not be signed by training camp next month.
The read here is unless the Bruins trade David Backes, who brings similar on and off the ice qualities to Boyle, then it just might not be the right fit for them and the hometown Boyle. That being said, Boyle would only help give a dressing room already deep in leadership, even more, and that can never hurt, especially come playoff time. Boyle could also be a solid PTO candidate and then if they can actually move Backes before the regular season begins they could sign Boyle. That of course, is if Boyle doesn’t sign with one of the other teams interested in him.
Last season, Boyle carried a $2.5 million cap hit on a one-year contract that he started with the New Jersey Devils and finished with the Nashville Predators after being dealt to Nashville at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. The feel here is he would likely be willing to take another one-year deal with a lesser cap hit.
After battling cancer during the 2017-18 season, Boyle won the 2018 Masterton Trophy for his perseverance and dedication to hockey. It’s no wonder his teammates and fellow NHLers view him as having one of the biggest hearts in the league and as a fearsome leader who has twice-with the New York Rangers in 2014 and with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015- helped lead his team to the Stanley Cup Final but is yet to hoist Lord Stanley. Backes has not won a Cup either.
Like Backes, (second round, 62nd overall), Boyle was part of the famous 2003 NHL Entry Draft in Nashville, where Boyle was drafted 26th overall by the Los Angeles Kings. The former Boston College star (2003-07), has played 12 seasons, while Backes has played 13.
Boyle had 13 goals and six assists in 47 games with the Devils and then lit the lamp five times in 26 games for the Preds. The Preds fell to the Dallas Stars in six games in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Boyle did notch two assists in three games. Boyle has thirteen goals and six assists in 47 playoff games. In 766 regular season games played, Boyle has 124 goals 92 assists.