The Detroit Red Wings need to shore up their defensive core. The San Jose Sharks need to find a way to win in the postseason. One possible solution being thrown around the World Wide Web is the swapping of Dan Boyle for an NHL-ready forward and perhaps a prospect. Who would the Wings be willing to part with? Well it was rumored earlier in the off-season that Detroit offered up 28-year old Valtteri Filppula plus the highly skilled 22-year old Gustav Nyquist for Rick Nash (in addition to a first round draft pick). Filppula had a breakout season last year (23G, 43A) playing on Henrik Zetterberg’s wing and Nyquist shows all the signs of being a future star. One would have to assume that the same pieces would be in play for a solid defenseman like Boyle.
Dan Boyle has the offensive talent (9G, 39A last year) as well as the ability to be stingy on defense. Red Wings fans know how tough the 36-year old veteran can be, as he has not been kind to the Wings players (or their fans) over the past three years. Boyle would add a similar rough element to the Wings defensive roster that Brad Stuart did, plus a greater offensive upside. He would give the Wings a solid power play quarterback, which is an area Detroit hopes to greatly improve upon this year. If the Sharks are going to be willing to part with Dan Boyle, however, they are going to want to replace his offensive production as well.
After signing defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to a five-year deal this summer, the Sharks were rumored to have begun shopping Boyle, including playing with the idea of acquiring Marion Gaborik from the New York Rangers. Those rumors were put to rest, however, and if the Sharks would like to change up their offensive this year (they did trade away Heatley and Setoguchi the year before), players like Filppula and Nyquist would fit into the smooth puck-possession game well, and it might be a strong plus for both sides. The Wings get their veteran defenseman, the Sharks both current and potential offensive talent.
The deal is by no means certain, but San Jose has been almost a revolving door for players lately, as the team trades and deals desperately trying to get the playoff monkey off their back and win now. The pressure is only greater now that their in-state and in-division rival, the L.A. Kings, were able to finally capture their franchise’s first Stanley Cup this past season. Detroit, on the other hand, due to its inability to draw the big free agents this summer really might feel the pressure to make some sort of splash to give both the fans and the players some reassurance. The Wings have made the playoffs for 21-straight years, and in their minds a player like Boyle might be their best shot at making it 22.