This afternoon, the Toronto Maple Leafs completed a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Coming to Toronto is centre Brian Boyle, and heading south is a conditional second round pick and Byron Froese (who isn’t heading that far south).
Boyle is just a rental, with multiple news sources saying that no contract extension has been discussed. He’ll be joining the Maple Leafs in San Jose and may suit up against the Sharks tomorrow night.
Brian Boyle has played well for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. Floating between the second and fourth lines as needed, he has put up 22 points (13G, 9A) in 54 games. Many Maple Leafs fans were looking to Boyle for a solution on the fourth line, giving the spot usually filled by Ben Smith or Frederik Gauthier a more veteran, NHL experienced presence to work with Matt Martin and Nikita Soshnikov.
Boyle is at the end of a contract paying him a $2,000,000 cap hit. The Maple Leafs have the option of re-signing him before July 1st, but as said above, nothing discussed right now.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond is also being loaned to the Toronto Marlies, and is not part of this trade.
Raw Charge writer Brandon Curtis has this to say about the newest Marlie:
PL3 is the last of a dying breed. One of the last remaining heavyweight enforcers in the league but he can also play a little bit of hockey. Good net front presence.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have now gained some offensive punch for the Syracuse Crunch, as opposed to just punches brought by now former Crunch Letourneau-Leblond.
For the Toronto Marlies this year, Froese has put up 39 points (24G, 15A) in 48 games, and also played two games for the Maple Leafs this year (no points).
Byron Froese is on the last year of a two way deal that is paying him $575,000.
The second round pick is conditional on playoff performance by the Maple Leafs. The Leafs have three second round picks and the Lightning press release describes the pick they’re getting like so:
The conditional pick in 2017 will be the highest second-round choice between the Maple Leafs’ own or previously acquired selections from either San Jose or Ottawa.
The Maple Leafs believe that they can make the playoffs this year. They’re going to try to put up a fight and win at least one round as well, and want someone who has played in the playoffs recently to be there with this team.
A vote of confidence to the players, and the Leafs still have one second round pick left for this years draft.
It’s not a terrible trade, this does leave the Marlies in an offensive hole heading into the AHL playoffs, but this isn’t about the AHL playoffs this year, we’re looking at the big time this spring.
The fourth line is improved instantly with the addition of Boyle, and it will be interesting to see which one, Freddie or Smith, gets sent back down.