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Boyle, Lightning to begin talks on contract extension

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
Published February 4, 2008


The agent for Dan Boyle said he and the Lightning will have preliminary talks this week about extending the star defenseman's contract.

"They had always told us they wanted Dan to stay and be part of the organization," George Bazos said Sunday.

Boyle, 31, one of the game's best puck-moving blue-liners, is in the final year of a three-year, $10-million contract.

He has played just eight games because of two surgeries to repair tendons in his left wrist damaged by a skate falling from his locker. And with Tampa Bay last in the East, the potential unrestricted free agent still could be dealt by the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

But it also is clear what Boyle's skills mean to the Lightning's transition game and power play. And as Bazos said, "All things being equal, he loves it there."

How much is Boyle worth?

Defenseman Brian Rafalski last summer signed a five-year, $30-million deal with the Red Wings. Kimmo Timonen signed a six-year deal with the Flyers that pays $8-million this season and next and $7-million the two seasons after that. Neither matched Boyle's 20 goals and 63 points last season.

Bazos does not believe Boyle's injury will hurt his market value.

"Dan is a proven player with a long-established track record," he said the day after his client's Jan. 24 return. "The important thing is his wrist is healthy. We've got a good chunk of the season to go, and someone might say he's got less wear and tear on him."

As for his conversation Saturday with general manager Jay Feaster, Bazos said Sunday, "We haven't really talked about anything other than, 'Let's talk about this."'

RIMOUSKI BOUND? The Lightning's and Penguins' trip to Europe next season has gotten in the way of a possible preseason game between the teams in Rimouski, Quebec.

Officials of the city's junior team, whose alumni include Tampa Bay's Vinny Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Michel Ouellet, and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, hope to host a 2009 preseason game.

"A lot of great memories there," Crosby said. "They have great fans, and I'm sure they'd really enjoy that."

"It would be fun to go back there and show the people of Rimouski," Lecavalier said. "They're great fans. It's like a little NHL. Game night, everybody is either watching or going to the game."

WORKAHOLIC: Feaster not only took in the Top Prospects Game in Edmonton recently, he watched the Lightning's first pick in 2007, Dana Tyrell, play two games for Prince George of the Western Hockey League.

The Cougars are struggling at 15-35-3, but Tyrell, a left wing taken in the second round, 47th overall, leads with 21 goals, 30 assists and 51 points.

"We saw him against Lethbridge," Feaster said. "They were getting beat 7-0, and he never stopped working. It was funny. As we were leaving, we could hear fans in their seats talking about, 'Well, Dana never stopped working.'"

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.