Fantasy Hockey Impact: The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for minor leaguer Byron Froese and a second-round draft pick, per Bob McKenzie.
The Leafs get: one of the top fourth-line centers in the game with the ability to step onto the third line seamlessly. Boyle can also play on the second power-play unit and use his huge 6-7 frame to generate offense. He's a one-time 21-goal scorer who has tallied 13 goals on four occasions (including this season). It sends a message to the team and the fans that the Leafs are in it to win it – and probably about two years earlier than they planned.
The Lightning get: a character minor leaguer who will help their affiliate Syracuse and could play the odd NHL game when injuries strike. He's great in the dressing room, by many accounts, but has little in the way of fantasy upside. The second-round draft pick is a pretty sweet return for a rental.
Fantasy Players Impacted: We're talking about a fourth liner here, so nothing earth-shattering of course. The first advice/opinion that I would offer you is this – I don't believe the Lightning have given up. After all – they are 5-1-2 in their last eight and with a game in hand (that they are playing Monday night) they could pull to within five points of a playoff spot. Furthermore, the Triplets line has finally caught fire. I think team brass is just doing some smart asset management and feel that they can still win with these changes. I think the scouts have looked at Peter Budaj and feel that he could win just as much as Ben Bishop for the short term. And since they have Tyler Johnson, Valtteri Filppula, Brayden Point and Cedric Paquette up the middle, Boyle can be replaced. Plus Vladislav Namestnikov is a centerman and Steven Stamkos could be back in a month. And fringe NHLer Gabriel Dumont has won 53 of his 94 faceoffs. Earlier today the Lightning also claimed Greg McKegg off of waivers. Boyle's spot on the power play will go to one of: Namestnikov, Point, Killorn or Anton Stralman.
Over in Toronto, the Leafs now won't have to rely on fringe NHLer Ben Smith. Nor will they have to accelerate Frederik Gauthier. Boyle buys Gauthier some much-needed time for development. If the team re-signs Boyle, however, then Gauthier will have his work cut out for him next year. Boyle is an upgrade offensively on that fourth line, so bangers Matt Martin and Nikita Soshnikov, if they are owned in your league for their hits, should have a few added assists going forward. Boyle himself will initially see a surge in production. It happens often when a player joins a new team. But he'll cool off and will probably not score as often with the Leafs. I doubt he gets the same power-play time (he was getting 1:37 per game with Tampa).
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Whoever gets Boyle's PP spot in Tampa (either Namestnikov, Point, Killorn or Stalman)
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Boyle (see his profile/stats here)
Discuss the deal HERE
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