SAN JOSE – Now in the final season of his current contract, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle would like to sign a multiple-year extension with the team, he confirmed on Saturday.
Boyle is set to earn $6.67 million in the final year of a six-year, $40 million deal he signed with Tampa Bay shortly before he was traded to San Jose in 2008.
“Ideally, I think we would all like it to be done before the season starts, but there’s three of us that are in the same boat,” Boyle said, referring to Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, also in their final contracted seasons. “We just kind of let our agents deal with that, and that’s what they’re there for. We just try not to think about it.
“Obviously, we’re going to be asked, but ideally, in order not to get asked, you finalize something before the season starts. We’ll see what happens.”
Boyle’s agent told CSNCalifornia.com in August that Boyle feels he can be an effective player until at least the age of 40. That would suggest that the veteran blueliner, who turned 37 in July, is seeking at least a two-year extension.
Boyle suggested as much on Saturday.
“There’s a lot of miles left,” he said. “You’ve got to keep in mind that even though I’m a little bit older in age, I’ve only got 850 games. I don’t have 11 or 12 hundred. There’s plenty of miles left in here.”
Boyle has actually played 879 career regular season games, as well as 100 playoff games in his 14 years in the NHL.
Last season, the Sharks' coaching staff scaled down Boyle’s minutes, including taking him off of the penalty-killing unit. By the end of the 2013 season, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun were the defensemen typically on the ice against the other team’s best scoring lines. One of the ultimate team-first guys, Boyle didn’t seem bothered by it then, and he’s on board with it now.
“Pickles and Brauner did a great job of shutting down, and it allowed me to play a little bit more offensive which I used to in the past, and not have to worry about being against the top line. That’s fine. I want to do whatever it takes to win, and it was a good formula. Whatever works.”
Does he expect that to continue?
“I would imagine, unless Pickles [messes] it up,” he said with a smile, within earshot of Vlasic.
McLellan pleased with scrimmage
At the first Sharks scrimmage on Friday, one team was decidedly better than the other. The teal squad, led by the Joe Thornton line (with Brent Burns and Tyler Kennedy) and the Joe Pavelski line (with Tommy Wingels and Tomas Hertl) dominated the white squad, which featured the Logan Couture line (with Patrick Marleau and Raffi Torres) and Andrew Desjardins line (with Adam Burish and James Sheppard).
[RELATED: Observations from final Sharks scrimmage]
Team Teal skated to a 5-1 win, but on Saturday, the white team responded with a 4-3 shootout win. It erased a 3-1 deficit in the second half, as the teams played two 30-minute running periods with one break to resurface the ice.
“There was a better overall intensity to the game. We have to give the white team credit, yesterday I was obviously not very pleased with their intensity, but they really brought it today,” McLellan said. “That’s great that they’re prepared to push each other. It would have been easy for them to roll over and play dead when they were down, but they fought back. From that perspective, I liked today’s scrimmage.”
He’s also encouraged that the two teams appear to be listening to their coaches.
“I think some of the things that we’ve worked on are showing up in the games, which is another good sign. Conditioning-wise and injury-wise we’re at a fairly good place right now. We’ll keep marching forward.”
Tarasov turning heads
Moscow, Russia native Daniil Tarasov scored a goal for the teal team, and has been one of the better players in the scrimmages. Tarasov bounced between Worcester (AHL) and San Francisco (ECHL) last season, eventually being named as Worcester’s Rookie of the Year, with 14 goals and 28 points.
Has he got your attention, coach?
“Yes, he has, and it didn’t start in this training camp,” McLellan said. “It started when he was sent to San Francisco last year. He went down there and worked at his game, and made the jump back to the American League, and now has an impact at that level. We noticed that. We respect that he could have went there and pouted, he didn’t, and it’s really reflected in his game. He’s been one of our better players to this point.”
On the other hand, one player that perhaps hasn’t played up to par yet is defenseman Matt Tennyson. The former Junior Shark made his NHL debut last season, but McLellan suggested he has been a bit of a disappointment in camp so far.
The coach said Tennyson could either get too comfortable in his position, or advance his game enough to become an NHL regular.
“At this point, I think the jury’s still out. I think there’s more to his game than we’ve seen in the last two games,” McLellan said.
Two preseason games to be televised
The Sharks announced that their first preseason game on Monday in Vancouver would be broadcast on the NHL Network, as will their home game against the Canucks on Sep. 24.
The final two preseason games, in Phoenix on Sep. 27 and Anaheim Sep. 28, will be 98.5/102.1 KFox radio.