USATSI_9835123_154158418_lowresThe Tampa Bay Lightning have traded centre Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Byron Froese and a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

The 32-year-old Boyle is in the final year of a three-year contract worth $6 million and will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

In 51 games this season, Boyle has 22 points – including 13 goals and nine assists. He has three goals on the power play and two game-winners. His best season to date was with the New York Rangers in 2010-2011, when he put up 35 points in 82 games and clocked 21 goals.

In 603 career games with the Lightning, Rangers and Los Angeles Kings, Boyle has 93 goals and 73 assists for a total of 166 points. He has just 10 career power play goals.

But Boyle is mostly noted for his checking line abilities and that’s where the Maple Leafs will find use for him.

He’s a natural centre, but he can play wing and even defence if the situation calls for it. At 6’7, 243 pounds, he has an imposing frame.

Word around the campfire is that the Maple Leafs haven’t discussed re-upping Boyle, so he’s likely just a rental at this point. Still, he should fit well with Matt Martin in the meantime and that’s enough to have some Toronto fans very interested in that fourth line situation.

25-year-old Froese is on his way to Tampa’s affiliate in Syracuse. He has just two shots on goal and five penalty minutes in two NHL games this season, but he posted team-high totals with the Marlies and is in the last year of a two-way deal worth a cool $575,000.

This trade is clearly couched in the notion that the Maple Leafs are a playoff team, as Boyle is the sort of rental player designed to provide punch to the lower echelon of the roster. And believe me, he has a lot of playoff experience and could prove an asset if Toronto’s game to win a series or something.

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