NEW YORK, N.Y. – The New York Rangers stemmed some of the tide of departures by key players who helped them make the Stanley Cup finals when they signed veteran defenceman Dan Boyle.
Boyle, who signed Tuesday, turns 38 this month. He can provide a steadying presence on the blue line, something the Rangers lost when Anton Stralman signed with Tampa Bay at the start of NHL free agency.
Detroit and Tampa Bay were among the many teams expressing interest in Boyle, who has poise on the blue line and a right-handed shot from the point. Boyle had 12 goals and 36 points for the San Jose Sharks last season and led the team in playing time, matching up with top-line opponents for 21-plus minutes a game. Boyle has 144 goals and 561 points in 954 games with the Sharks, Lightning and Florida Panthers.
The Rangers reached the finals for the first time in two decades, and three others who got them there also are gone: centre Brian Boyle, forward Benoit Pouliot and centre Brad Richards.
New York bought out Richards’ contract last month and he signed with Chicago on Tuesday. Richards, 34, got a one-year contract after scoring 20 goals and 51 points last season, then 12 points in the playoffs.
Stralman, along with Ryan McDonagh the Rangers’ best defenceman last season and in the playoffs, went to the Lightning with a $22.5 million, five-year contract. Brian Boyle also landed there.
Pouliot signed a five-year deal worth a reported $20 million with Edmonton.
Stralman, Brian Boyle and Pouliot were key penalty killers for the Rangers, who agreed to terms with another of their solid defensive forwards, centre Dominic Moore. Moore won the Masterton Trophy last month for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
New York agreed to terms with defencemen Mike Kostka, Mike Hunwick and Steven Kampfer, and forward Chris Mueller.