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Analysis: Grabbing Boyle from Tampa a Dan-dy move by the Sharks

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Hopefully fans of the teal didn’t spend too much time feeling blue over the team’s defense.

Just days after saying goodbye to Brian Campbell, the San Jose Sharks have signed Rob Blake and brought in Dan Boyle via trade from Tampa Bay.

Forgetting about Blake for the moment, let’s just examine the exit-Campbell, enter-Boyle aspect of the story. The two defensemen are similar in style, both relying on speed, smarts and vision to be dependable puck-movers. In Boyle, 31, the Sharks are getting a slightly older, slightly better version of Campbell, who’s 29.

Even those who would contend the two are of equal talent have to acknowledge San Jose came out ahead when you factor in Boyle, at $6.6 million per season, is also slightly cheaper than Campbell.

A freak accident that saw a skate drop from a stall and cut Boyle’s wrist limited him to just 37 games last year. In 2006-07, Boyle notched 20 goals and 63 points while playing in all 82 games. That’s one more than the 62 points Campbell put up last season.

Another boon for San Jose in landing Boyle is the fact his points tend to be built more equally on goals and assists, while Campbell is more of a set-up guy from the point.

Boyle’s past is also consistent with that of Blake’s and new Sharks coach Todd McLellan in that he’s got his name etched on the Stanley Cup. San Jose GM Doug Wilson has obviously decided that, since his team can’t turn the championship corner, he’s going to turn the Sharks into a team comprised of champions.

As for the 38-year-old Blake, Wilson is counting on him being rejuvenated by one last Cup run after playing a mentoring role with the Kings’ young defense corps. The fact Blake can go out and do his thing on the second or third defense pair should alleviate any unrealistic expectations that would have been placed on him had he been San Jose’s sole blueline acquisition this summer.

Wilson deserves credit for acting fast on this one.

Where not long ago his team had a hole, now it’s got some rings with a good chance to win more thanks to an enhanced defense corps.

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