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Boyle traded to Predators by Devils

New Jersey receives second-round pick in 2019 NHL Draft; Nashville also gets McLeod from Rangers

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

NASHVILLE -- Brian Boyle was traded to the Nashville Predators by the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

The 34-year-old forward is in the final season of a two-year, $5.1 million contract he signed with the Devils on July 1, 2017, and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

 

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"I'm real excited to be a part of this Nashville team," Boyle said, "because just being a fan of the game and seeing what they've been able to do, the team and how it's built, speaking with [Predators general manager David Poile and coach Peter Laviolette], it's just a real exciting time for me and for us."

Poile envisions Boyle being able to help the Predators on special teams, particularly on the power play. Nashville has converted on 12.9 percent of its power plays this season, tied with the Montreal Canadiens for the lowest percentage in the NHL.

The Predators also acquired forward Cody McLeod in a trade with the New York Rangers on Wednesday for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

"I think we wanted to have more size in our lineup, especially with losing Austin Watson (suspension) and now Zac Rinaldo (shoulder surgery) being out the rest of the season," Poile said. "I think we crossed off those boxes with adding Cody McLeod, for sure, and the physical size and Brian Boyle, both from the physical size but also I think he's a player that's going to get used in a lot of different areas for our club to make some differences."

Boyle (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) has 19 points (13 goals, six assists) in 47 games this season, his second with the Devils and 12th in the NHL. The No. 26 pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, he has 211 points (119 goals, 92 assists) in 740 NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings, Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and Devils.

Boyle also has 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists) in 111 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He played in the Cup Final with the Rangers in 2014 and the Lightning in 2015.

"You've got to earn your ice time, and you've got to earn it every day," Boyle said. "I've learned that lesson. I think parts of my game are pretty good in a number of different areas. I can play wing, I can play center. I've played quite a bit on the power play this year. I've played penalty kill most of my career.

"If I can fill in and I can just be a part of what they're trying to do, that's what I'm going to try to do. Five-on-five stuff, I'm going to do what I can to help the team. That's the stock answer for you, I'm sorry, but that's what it is, really. I want to fit in."

Boyle won the Masterton Trophy last season for perseverance and dedication to hockey. He missed the first 10 games after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia but returned on Nov. 1 and had 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) to help the Devils earn a playoff berth for the first time since advancing to the Final in 2012.

He has reached double figures in goals seven times and had his best offensive season with the Rangers in 2010-11, finishing with 35 points (21 goals, 14 assists) in 82 games.

"We want to thank Brian for his time here, as he was a big part in helping establish the culture we now have in place," Devils general manager Ray Shero said. "His leadership, dedication and determination served as an inspiration to the entire organization, on and off the ice. We wish him, his wife Lauren, son Declan and daughter Isabella the best of luck in Nashville."

Boyle was scheduled to arrive in Nashville on Wednesday and could make his Predators debut when they host the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-SW, NHL.TV).

Nashville (32-19-4) is in second place in the Central Division, three points behind the Winnipeg Jets. The Devils (20-25-7) are in 15th place in the Eastern Conference, 14 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

McLeod (6-2, 204), who played two seasons with Nashville from 2016-18, had one goal in 31 games with New York this season. The 34-year-old forward has 127 points (72 goals, 55 assists) in 769 NHL games through 12 seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, Predators and Rangers.

Poile said he was comfortable with the lineup if the Predators were to head into the playoffs with this roster as constructed, but also will continue to explore options up until the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. ET.

"I think just look for the right deal," Poile said. "If we can improve our club, we're going to do that. I'm comfortable with what we have in our depth and filling the holes that I thought we had or got created by the three players that we've lost in the last couple of weeks, but if we can improve our team in the next three weeks, we will certainly do that."

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