On October 15, 2013 Dan Boyle received an incredibly dirty hit from Maxim Lapierre. He was carried off on a stretcher and his career as a San Jose Shark effectively ended that night. Sure, he came and played 75 games in the 2013-14 season with San Jose but the veteran defender was never the same after that hit.
He joined the New York Rangers in free agency the following season as the Sharks didn’t express interest in retaining him. That was a good move, but it definitely hurt. Boyle was more than a great defender for the Sharks — he was the heart and soul of a very talented blue line.
Boyle got his Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, so I don’t feel quite as bad the Sharks never got it done while he was with the team. Still, I’ll always wish I could’ve seen Boyle lift the Cup with a Sharks patch on his jersey.
I always rooted for Boyle while he was with the Rangers. His career didn’t slip away like I thought it might — and while he was stuck with a team that relied on Henrik Lundqvist to win anything, he certainly had a chance to add a second title to his resume.
That didn’t happen, and it sounds like Boyle will retire as a member of the Sharks on Wednesday, ending his amazing career. It’s extremely flattering that Boyle chose to retire with the Sharks. He won a Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning and I wouldn’t have held it against him if he had chosen to retire with the Bolts.
But he didn’t. One of the best defenders in San Jose Sharks history chose to come back to Silicon Valley to wrap up his career. I hope he sticks around to join the coaching staff of the Sharks or Barracuda — I’ll miss his candor and passion if he doesn’t. Boyle scored 68 goals and 269 total points while with the Sharks — one of the best offensive defenders of his generation.
He ends his career with 605 points, good enough for 34th all time among defenders. Boyle isn’t just one of the best Sharks defenders of all times; he’s one of the best defenders of all time period. He might never get the recognition he really deserves, but I’ll always love him around these parts.
Thanks Boyler. You helped me fall in love with defenders before Brent Burns was eating pizza in his locker. Have a great retirement, you’ve earned it.