SAN JOSE -- Dan Boyle had no illusions about his future with the San Jose Sharks. The team offered him a one-year contract, Boyle wanted at least two years, and that was that. Talks never progressed, according to the defenseman.
Still, hearing general manager Doug Wilson’s decision that the Sharks would not be bringing Boyle back after six seasons in teal was not easy for the 37-year-old.
“Even though I was kind of expecting it a little bit, yeah, it was devastating,” Boyle said on Friday. “I was clear that I wanted to be back here and I loved it here. It can still be pretty tough news to take, but when you lose like we did, you figure that changes are going to be made. Part of me thought this could happen.”
Boyle, who will officially hit the open market on July 1, said several times throughout the season that his preference was to return to San Jose and finish his career here. He will depart having made the postseason in each of his six seasons, but as part of a core group that ultimately fell short of winning the Stanley Cup.
That significant footnote aside, he indicated he’d always cherish his time playing in the Bay Area.
“I don’t regret anything with the exception of the result as a team. As far as my individual effort, I laid it out there every night,” Boyle said.
“The experience as a whole, playing here in front of these fans, was just an incredible experience. Obviously, I’m going to leave with regret that we didn’t get the job done, but when I look in the mirror at the end of the day, I know that I gave it everything I had.”
The defenseman didn’t want to comment on any other changes that might be coming to San Jose, saying only that his year end meeting with Wilson was “probably the most honest and intense meeting that we’ve had.” There’s a growing sense that Boyle’s departure (along with Marty Havlat) could be just the start of a significant overhaul of the Sharks’ roster.
If that happens, Boyle wouldn’t be completely shocked.
“Obviously, they’re going to identify who they want to move forward with, and, yeah, there definitely could be more changes ahead," he said.
There’s little question that Boyle, arguably the best defenseman in Sharks franchise history, will get the multiple-year deal he’s seeking from another club. In fact, along with text messages from many of his now former teammates, Boyle has been contacted by some other players around the league, “wanting me to come play for other teams,” he said.
Although his game dipped a bit this season, perhaps as a result from a concussion in October, a right-handed defenseman that can play on the power play will be a hot commodity. Boyle, who was part of Tampa Bay’s championship team of 2003-04, also carries himself with a professionalism rarely matched in NHL dressing rooms both on and off the ice.
Yes, he’s disappointed he won’t get a chance to help bring a championship to San Jose. But, there’s also a sense of anticipation for what comes next. He’ll have options.
“It’s definitely tough, but it’s exciting at the same time,” Boyle said. “It’s a confusing time, but it is what it is. It’s a business, and at the end of the day, things happen.
“I’m obviously crushed and hurt with what’s happened, but I’m a competitor. I want to win the Stanley Cup. That’s what I’m excited about. I’m looking forward to the next opportunity.”