Attention, NHL general managers: If you have a veteran on the verge of unrestricted free agency who you don’t intend to re-sign, you might want to give ol’ Garth Snow a call.
For the second time in a matter of weeks, the wheelin’ and dealin’ GM of the New York Islanders has swooped in to obtain the negotiating rights to a pending UFA. Last month, it was Washington goalie Jaroslav Halak. Today, it was San Jose Sharks defender Dan Boyle.
In exchange, the Isles sent a fifth-round draft pick to Silicon Valley that graduates to a fourth if Boyle signs with New York.
Snow was able to make the Halak deal pay off by signing the goaltender to a four-year, $18 million deal, and leverage his offer against a very limited market for starting netminders.
He’s likely to find Boyle a harder sell. The 37-year-old may be close to aging out of the league, but his smarts and puck-moving skills are certain to garner some interest come July 1.
It’s a good bet that Boyle tests the market, but Snow at least bought himself nearly a month to make his pitch that probably centers around promising him a bigger role on the blueline than he might get elsewhere. In exchange, he gave up a pick with little likelihood of panning out. Looking back 10 years to the 2004 draft, just five prospects selected in that round ended up playing as many as 100 games in the NHL. That’s a fair risk for Snow, and a smart deal for the Sharks, who at least get another spin of the wheel in exchange for a player they had no intention of keeping around.