After this season ends, the Sharks and general manager Doug Wilson will have lots of hard thinking to do. Why? Well, three big names, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dan Boyle will all be free agents. At that point, the team’s future will hang in the balance and decisions will have to be made on three of San Jose’s biggest players.
Recently the front office has at least started talking to one of those guys, Dan Boyle. Specifically, Boyle has said he wants to remain in San Jose and thinks he can be effective for the next few years. Reading between the lines, CSN’s Kevin Kurz thinks that means Boyle is likely seeking a deal for about two to three years in length.
I for one would have no qualms about the Sharks re-signing Boyle for a couple more years. The more pressing issue would be price.
Again, going back to the Kevin Kurz article, he compares Boyle to defenseman Kimmo Timonen of the Philadelphia Flyers. Timonen signed a one year, $6 million deal and is both similar in age and point production to Boyle. Keep in mind that right now Boyle is making $6.67 million this year.
I would have a bit of a problem paying Boyle that much even though he is still considered very offensively gifted. There has been a steady decline from Boyle in terms of production, however, and last season had seven goals and 13 assists for 20 total points. Five of those seven goals came on the power play, where he is arguably still one of the best power play quarterbacks in the league.
Compare that to Timonen who had 29 points in one less game during the regular season and to me that just shows why Boyle is not worth $6 million per year. You could argue for about $5 million a year, but once you get beyond that I would have a hard time following.
Obviously, Boyle is one of the leaders of this team and that is hard to quantify. Also, the Sharks will no doubt be in need of his offensive output from the blue-line this season, especially with Brent Burns moving to forward. His durability is not to be underestimated as well.
Who knows, by saying he wants to be back in San Jose, perhaps he would be willing to take a bit of a discount?
He also has a chance to prove himself capable of putting up top offensive numbers this season, but I do not see much of a change. Boyle has scored 48+ points in each of his five seasons with the Sharks. If you pro-rate last season’s points, it comes out to less than 40. If he can get it back to around 50, maybe we can talk about more money. Otherwise, that money is better spent finding a newer, younger defenseman who will eventually take his place.
I do agree with extended his contract, but to a certain extent. I do not agree with spending over $5 million a year for him, because I simply do not think he is worth that anymore. Then again, after this season, maybe he proves me wrong!