New Jersey Devils Should Bring Back Brian Boyle In Offseason

(Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) /

New Jersey Devils‘ likely firesale began on Wednesday, when the team traded forward Brian Boyle to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a second round pick, which Nick Villano and Vincent Parise discussed.

With the Devils sitting in the basement of the league’s standings, getting good value for a pending UFA is a no brainer.  New Jersey now owns two second-round picks in this year’s draft, and have 5 picks in the first 3 rounds. This is before possible trades of Marcus Johansson, Ben Lovejoy, and Keith Kinkaid, where more picks can be acquired.

Whether Ray Shero and company wants to stockpile young talent or use these picks in a trade for an NHL player, acquiring as may picks as possible gives the team a lot of flexibility heading into a very important summer.

Part of these offseason plans should be signing the man that they just traded away.  Boyle is a rental for Nashville. They can’t afford to bring him back after the season, as they only have around $6 million in cap space with guys like Kevin Fiala, Ryan Hartman, and Colton Sissons needing new contracts.

Cap space is obviously not an issue for the New Jersey Devils.  Why not give him a similar contract to his original 2 year, $6.1 million deal?  He actually earned a pay raise, something many contending teams can’t afford.

Boyle seemed to love being a Devil, saying “it was a place, in a short time, that became very near and dear to us and we’ll never forget our time here.”  He embraced the fans and quickly became a favorite in Jersey, which would lead me to believe that he would be willing to make a reunion.

Boyle scored 6 even-strength goals this season, which is rather impressive considering that he has been thrown on many different lines, most of which featured players who struggle in the NHL.

Where he really shined, though, is on special teams.  He was the net front presence on the power play, where his 6 goals trail only Kyle Palmieri’s 9 for the team lead with the man advantage.  He also was an anchor on the penalty alongside Pavel Zacha, scoring a beautiful shorthanded goal in Pittsburgh and being a major factor on New Jersey’s 4th ranked penalty kill.

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On top of all this, his leadership in a young locker room is unmatched.  His comeback after his cancer diagnosis was an inspiration to everyone on the team and fans around the league.  He has worn the ‘A’ on his sweater on multiple occasions, a true test to his leadership. He is the exact type of player you want to mentor young centers like Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha.

In just one and a half years, Brian Boyle cemented himself as one of the most likeable Devils in recent memory, on top of being a very good hockey player.  From overcoming cancer, to scoring on Hockey Fights Cancer Night in New Jersey, to representing the Devils at the All Star Gamer, to going psycho on Mikhail Sergachev in the playoffs, to winning the Masterton Trophy, to scoring a hat trick on Hockey Fights Cancer Night in Pittsburgh, he has created memories that Devils fans will not soon forget.  Go win a Cup in Nashville and come back to New Jersey, Boyler.