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Boyle acquisition allows Predators to bolster center depth

It's a star-filled doubleheader as the Blues travel to face the Predators at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and then the Maple Leafs take on the Rangers at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Despite winning the Presidents’ Trophy last season, the Nashville Predators were bounced from the playoffs by the Winnipeg Jets in the second round. As good as their regular season was, the year, as a whole, was a disappointment. Well, general manager David Poile wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

On Wednesday, the Predators acquired veteran forward Brian Boyle from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a second-round pick in 2019.

He’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Having quality depth down the middle is one of the keys to winning a Stanley Cup, and the Preds landing Boyle certainly gives them deeper at center. Once Kyle Turris returns from a lower-body injury, Nashville will be able to role out Ryan Johansen, Turris, Boyle and Nick Bonino. Colton Sissons can also play center if need be.

Boyle, 34, has 13 goals and 19 points in 47 games this season. He’s also able to play on the power play and penalty kill, which makes him even more valuable to a contending team like Nashville. Six of his goals were scored on the man-advantage and he’s added a goal and three points on the PK.

This isn’t the first time Boyle has been traded as a rental player. In 2017, the Tampa Bay Lightning traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Byron Froese and a conditional second-round draft pick. He ended up finishing his short stint with the Leafs with just three assists in 21 regular season games. He then added two more helpers in six games during the postseason.

The Predators are hoping that he’ll be able to chip in a little more this time around.

After grabbing Boyle, Poile went out and brought back forward Cody McLeod from the New York Rangers, sending a 2020 seventh-round pick the other way.


Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.