Editor's note: Over the next month, CSNCalifornia.com Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz and Postgame Live reporter Brodie Brazil will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.
Sharks spotlight -- the seriesSharks spotlight: Dan BoyleAge: 35 DIn his fourth season with the Sharks, defenseman Dan Boylehad nine goals and 39 assists for 48 points and 57 penalty minutes. He waseighth in the league in scoring among defensemen, and second in shots (252).Boyle led the Sharks in ice time, at more than 25 minutes per game. In fiveplayoff games, Boyle was scoreless with two assists and two penalty minutes.Kurz says: Boyle may be on the down slope of his career, buthe was still arguably the Sharks best defenseman again this season. It was aninauspicious start for the veteran this year, when he struggled mightily forthe first month-and-a-half, but he later revealed he was playing through abroken foot. After recovering, Boyle regained his foot speed and skatingability and resembled the player Sharks fans were used to seeing since he wasacquired from Tampa Bay before the 2008-09 season. Boyle is still a key memberon the Sharks power play, too, finishing with 17 points on that second-rankedunit.SLIDESHOW: Grading the Sharks
Brodie says: Throughthe first 27 games of the season, Boyle had only a single goal. At one point, I even found him shortening allof his sticks an inch, because he had unknowingly been playing with a newerbatch that was mistakenly longer. Thatcould have been what was ailing Boyle or maybe, it was his broken foot!! Yeah, Boyle played through that broken foot for asignificant early portion of the season.I dont think he intended to ever let the information go public, butaccidentally let it slip on a postgame radio interview with Jamie Baker. The bottom line, it goes to show that forsomething you know, there is always something else you may not.Boyle was a longtime partner with Douglas Murray in the lastfew seasons but skated alongside Marc Edouard Vlasic from mid-December throughthe rest of the campaign. No doubt this was San Joses top defensive pair whenthe season mattered most: Boyle with the offensive mindset, and Vlasic enjoyingone of his best defensive seasons yet. 2012-13 expectationsKurz says: Boyle is one of several players considered to bein the Sharks aging core group, and may also be the most tradable. Accordingto CapGeek.com, Boyle has a limited no-trade clause that expires on July 1,when he can name 10 teams that he would not play for. While Boyle would bringback a decent return, as defensemen of his caliber and skill set are hard tofind and there is a limited free agent market, losing him would leave a gapinghole on the San Jose blue line.If Boyle returns, he should still have plenty of gas left inthe tank to be an effective player for at least another couple seasons. If hedoesnt, the Sharks had better find a top-notch talent to replace him, as theydont have the body or bodies to fill that void internally.RELATED: Boyle stats splits game logs
Brodie says: Boyle will be 36 when next season starts,and although there is an inevitable decline in potential with age: I just dontthink he is there yet. Boyle may not bethe fastest skater or have the strongest blast from the point, but counters itby playing a smart and responsible game.The one concern regarding Boyle, might be his minutes. Last season he again led San Jose, and was 7thamong ALL NHL players at 25:34 TOIgame.That is 2:25 more than the next closest teammate (Vlasic). The Sharks certainly benefited from Danscontributions and often needed him for large portions of games. It is not at all to suggest 1-2 minutes beshaved off that average as a demotion.Instead, a curiosity if you would actually get even more from Boyle inthe long term by keeping him just slightly fresher. On a personal note, Dan is one of the best sources when I amtrying to get a feel of the player perspective on topics. Sharks fans that watch enough interviews knowthat Boyle is refreshingly open and honest in front of a microphone. As a Stanley Cup winner and Olympic Goldmedalist, he has credentials that come with great insights: and is one ofseveral Sharks I could consider for best interview on the team. Up next: Michal Handzus