RALEIGH, N.C. -- San Jose Sharks
defenseman Dan Boyle
never had the opportunity to hear his named called at an NHL Entry Draft.
Boyle, who signed with the Florida Panthers
as an undrafted free agent in 1998, received the next best thing on Friday when he was selected No. 17 by captain Eric Staal
during the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco at the Raleigh Convention Center.
He'll represent Team Staal against Team Lidstrom at Sunday's 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover.
"I didn't get to hear my name the first time around, so it was nice to hear my name here in the draft," Boyle said. "It was a little different, obviously, but it was nice."
Boyle has worked for everything he achieved in 12-plus NHL seasons. He played college hockey at Miami of Ohio, where he was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame on Feb. 9, and won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning
"I did everything I had to do in college," Boyle said. "I thought I had the numbers and I did everything I could to get drafted, but you have to stay mentally tough. You see friends and other guys in the League getting drafted and it's tough on one's psyche. But you just need to be strong and believe in yourself and you need to try and find a way to somehow get your foot in the door. That's what Florida gave me when they signed me, but then it's a matter of making the best of the situation."
Following a stellar collegiate career with the Redhawks, including a school record for career assists by a defenseman (107), Boyle played in 129 games in parts of four seasons with Florida. He posted 10 goals and 39 points before being traded to Tampa Bay in January 2002, for a fifth-round selection in the 2003 Entry Draft.
"Getting that opportunity is tough, but then making the best of it is even harder," Boyle said. "Obviously, Tampa was really where I got to play, but if I wasn't given that opportunity to sign that deal in Florida than who knows where I'd be. You just need someone to believe in you and I had one scout in Florida that did that. He pretty much begged for them to give me a tryout and I'm just thankful I was able to make him look good, I guess."
Now in San Jose, Boyle is doing all he can to contribute in any way possible.
Boyle will join fellow defensemen Mike Green
of Washington, Zdeno Chara
of Boston, Marc Staal
of the New York Rangers
, Kris Letang
of Pittsburgh and Erik Karlsson
of Ottawa. He doesn't see an advantage for either team.
"I think it's 50-50," he said. "There are so many good players, and we got the home ice advantage with having some Carolina guys on my team. We probably have the crowd behind us. It's for all the media and fans and hopefully they like it. We want to make the public happy and that's why there was a change this year because the All-Star Game had kind of gotten a little stale. Hopefully, the fans like it and it's worth it."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale