tampabay.com

Boyle contract talks could heat up

By Eduardo A. Encina, Times Staff Writer
Published February 22, 2008


UNIONDALE, N.Y. - As Tuesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline draws near, it appears the Lightning is more determined to sign Dan Boylethan trade him.

Boyle's agent, George Bazos, said he expects the team to intensify talks with the puck-moving defenseman who is in the last year of a three-year, $10-million deal.

"You never know how it's going to be going into the GM meetings. But coming out of (this week's meetings), it's clear to me that signing Danny is the Lightning's first priority," Bazos said. "I expect us to really start to seriously discuss terms in the next few days."

If talks break down, Boyle, 31, could be traded to a playoff contender. General manager Jay Feaster has declined to discuss trade possibilities.

Depending on the length of the deal, Boyle could command about $7-million annually on the free agent market. The Lightning currently has nearly $20-million of the $50-million salary cap committed to its star forwards,Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis and Brad Richards.

Boyle is considering a contract between four and eight years, Bazos said, which could be a sticking point.

"It all depends on the dollar amount and the player," Bazos said. "Tampa seems to be a little uneasy on the longer term. We're a little uneasy with the shorter term."

THE DAY AFTER: Coach John Tortorella didn't have much to say Thursday morning, a few hours after an expletive-laced tirade in the dressing room after the Lightning blew a late 3-1 lead and lost 4-3 in overtime in Buffalo.

"I'm going to keep my comments in the room," he said after a team meeting. "That's where they belong."

In court: Defenseman Kevin Quick, who was kicked off Michigan's team Feb. 1, was arraigned Tuesday for identity theft, fraud and using a computer to commit a crime. Quick, 19, a Lightning third-round pick in 2006 who hasn't played since signing a 25-game tryout with AHL Norfolk, is accused of stealing his roommate's credit card and charging $1,000 worth of items online. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 12.

ODDS AND ENDS: Chris Simon returned for New York after a 30-game ban stemming from stomping on the leg of Pittsburgh's Jarkko Ruutu on Dec. 15. ... Lightning wing Andre Roy was a healthy scratch. ... Luca Cunti, a third-round pick in 2007 who joined the junior-level USHL after having trouble getting through the NCAA Clearinghouse, has returned to St. Cloud State and might try to regain his eligibility.