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EDMONTON – Dan Boyle is aware that his name has been mentioned in recent trade rumors, and he’s not very happy about it.
“It’s not fun. I certainly don’t enjoy it. I do the best that I can to try and keep it out, but it gets to you. I don’t like hearing that stuff,” he said on Wednesday morning in Edmonton, where the Sharks will play the Oilers.
The latest mention of Boyle’s name came from a TSN “Insider Trading” segment on Tuesday night. Pierre Lebrun said he expects general manager Doug Wilson to make some sort of move or moves prior to the April 3 deadline, which isn’t surprising considering the Sharks’ 5-10-6 mark since Feb. 1.
Boyle has a limited no-trade clause, and would be an attractive player for several teams, particularly in the Eastern Conference. Many Eastern Conference scouts have been following the Sharks lately.
Lebrun said: “The player to watch right now is Dan Boyle. He's not a UFA – he's not a rental player – he has another year left on his deal at $6.7 million, but he is available for the right price. They are trying to make room for Brent Burns to be the No. 1 guy for the next few years.
“I believe the New York Rangers have talked to San Jose about him; they have interest in Boyle but the question remains: is there a fit?”
Boyle, who was traded to the Sharks from Tampa Bay in the 2008 offseason, wants to remain in San Jose.
“This is where I want to be. I don’t want to be anywhere else. You guys have been with me for five years and you know what I bring to the table. I don’t want to be anywhere else. It’s not fun to hear that.
“The only other time my name was involved was five years ago. Sometimes where there’s smoke there’s fire, and I hope in this case, it’s not the case. It’s hard not to pay attention to that stuff.”
Boyle isn’t the only player that has been talked about. Ryane Clowe, Marty Havlat, Douglas Murray and Jason Demers have all been mentioned as players that could potentially be on the move, unless the Sharks quickly turn their season around.
Todd McLellan was asked about the media-driven scuttlebutt surrounding his sinking Sharks.
“The people that are being talked about are very mature athletes,” McLellan said. “They’ve been in the league a long time. Some of them have been moved and traded in the past. But, when you come and you put the helmet and gloves on, and tighten up the skates, you can leave all of that stuff behind and get out and perform.
“The better we perform, the better chance we have of having success and staying together.”
If the Sharks were to trade the 36-year-old Boyle, it would be a pretty clear signal that they don’t consider themselves a Stanley Cup contender this season and are looking towards the future rather than the present. Boyle leads the team in ice time with 23:21 a game, is the quarterback of the power play, and his 12 points are first among Sharks defensemen.
Lebrun’s suggestion of moving Boyle to make room for Burns as the number one defenseman is a stretch, though, as Burns hasn’t been a consistently reliable blueliner since he was acquired from Minnesota.
Burns has, however, been an effective forward. Since moving up front four games ago, Burns has two goals and four assists and has provided a much-needed scoring punch to a team that is 29th in the NHL in goals-per game.