Professional athletes are by their very nature competitive, very competitive. The Sharks blue chip defenseman Dan Boyle takes competition to the extreme. Does he play a chip on this shoulder?
The 5-11, 190 pound Ottawa native has had a remarkable career in the NHL. The undrafted defenseman played four seasons at Miami of Ohio. While in Ohio, Boyle worked hard and developed his game, but NHL scouts were not impressed. This has stoked his fire ever since. His passion and dedication to the game has helped him build a remarkable resume with a Stanley Cup in 2004 with Tampa Bay and an Olympic Gold medal in 2010 in Vancouver for Canada. That said, Boyle has grown into one of the best puck-moving defenseman of his generation.
The key to his success is his amazing skating ability. Not blessed with blazing speed, he uses anticipation, lateral movement and turn-on-a-dime style which allows him to avoid checkers feel totally comfortable carrying the puck out of his own end. What make him even more effective are his amazing passing skills. Opponents must respect him at all times.
For a relative late-comer to the NHL, Boyle is closing in on 900 NHL games. During that time he’s scored 132 goals to go along with 393 assists. Another testament to his desire is he’s skated in 100 NHL playoff contests. This does not happen by accident. Boyle has always contributed to his teams’ success. He demands 100% effort from himself as well as of his teammates. Following a San Jose loss no one takes it harder. He appears to take losing personally, and stews over it longer than anyone. He not only strives to be a better player, but a better winner.
At 37, there’s little evidence that his skills are eroding. It is not a stretch to envision Dan playing well into his 40s. As a puck-carrier there are few who can evade a check from oncoming forecheckers so well. However he will take a check to make a play and he rarely lets bumps and bruises keep him out of the lineup.
There are few current defensemen in the NHL that can play 25+ minutes while logging ice time in any situation, be it even strength, the powerplay or the PK. His recovery after an extended shift is truly remarkable for a player of any age.
In October Boyle will be starting his 16th season in the NHL and 6th with the Sharks. His 56 goals and 177 assists in teal rank first in franchise history for a defenseman despite playing 356 games which rank 7th in team history.
One of the signature plays in all of the NHL last season was Boyle’s April 3rd end-to-end rush that ended in a goal vs the Wild. It’s those sorts of moments that Sharks’ fans have come to expect.
Off the ice Dan is a true professional. He answers all of the tough questions and is not afraid to speak him mind. Veterans respect his dedication to the game and his preparation, while young players look to him for leadership and emotional tone.
Boyle has gone from an undrafted, undersized college player to an all-star who has reached the pinnacles of his profession. Dan still uses the scouts’ unfavorable 1990s evaluation as fuel for his fire.
Come September training camp Dan Boyle will be ready to play and by the start of the regular season in October he will be ready to win.