The first sign was that GM Garth Snow apparently didn’t put out a feeler for Boyle’s interest in the Islanders before trading a fifth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for his negotiating rights. Boyle’s agent, George Bazos, said he was unaware the Islanders were even interested.
The second sign was that Bazos made it clear that going to July 1 as an unrestricted free agent was still the most appealing option for Boyle, but that the Islanders were super sweet for trying to talk with him exclusively. "(Pending free agents are) always excited to see what their options are, come July 1, but at the same time, it's exciting when a team steps up and trades for you as well," Bazos told USA Today.
The hope for the Islanders was that Boyle would be enticed by the contract term they could offer – undoubtedly eclipsing the short-term deal the Sharks low-balled him with – and that he saw enough on that Islanders roster to believe they’d be competitive in the East.
Instead, he’s walking away from the table and into free agency, likely looking at one more whack at the Stanley Cup piñata as a 38-year-old defenseman next season.
Eh, the Islanders took their shot. It didn’t work with Christian Ehrhoff in 2011, when he blew off Snow for free agency, and it doesn’t work here. The Islanders end up losing a fifth-round pick, which isn’t terrible, but losing out on Boyle just reinforces the notion that premiere free agents aren’t signing there. And given the nucleus Snow’s solidified there, that’s a little depressing – like the guy in high school with the new BMW and no prom date.