@ San Jose Sharks
Thursday, Mar 17, 2011, 7:30 PM PDT
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After scoring an assist last game, Dan Boyle became the all-time leader in points for Sharks defensemen. You can read all about it here.
Boyle hasn't even played for the Sharks for a full three seasons yet, so the fact that he's already the team's all-time best offensive defenseman is a real testament both to his incredible skills and the fact that the Sharks had really lousy offensive defensemen for a really long time.
Boyle joined the Sharks in the off-season in 2008. He was traded along with Brad Lukowich in exchange for Matt Carle (who has developed into a solid player for Philadelphia), Ty Wishart (he's played 13 games for the Islanders this year), a first-round pick that became Ducks' prospect Kyle Palmieri, and a fourth-round pick which got the Lightning some kid named James Mullin.
All-in-all I'd call the trade a major win for the Sharks, and Boyle has several years of high-level play left in him.
Boyle breaks the scoring record previously held by long long long-time Shark Mike Rathje, who played for San Jose for eleven seasons. Rathje wasn't an offensive defenseman at all but he was big and had a hard shot so often ended up playing the point on the powerplay simply because the team didn't have anyone better to put there. My dad has always been amazed at Mike Rathje's 00-01 season, in which the Sharks' top defenseman played major minutes in 81 games and scored zero goals. That's a remarkable feat - you'd think he'd get a couple by accident playing that much, right? Over his 671 games played for San Jose Rathje recorded 155 points: a pace of 0.23 points per game.
As of last night Dan Boyle has played 218 games in teal and scored 156 points, which puts him at 0.72 points per game.
After Rathje on the Sharks' all-time defensive scoring list we have Brad Stuart and Marcus Ragnarsson. Brad Stuart scored 0.40 points per game and Ragnarsson, Rathje's defensive partner for many years, scored 0.29.
In terms of points per game, the only player that even comes close to Dan Boyle is Sandis Ozolinsh, who recorded 0.62 ppg in his games as a Shark (and this would probably be a little higher if we discounted his brief return in 07-08).
Basically anything above 0.50 points per game is pretty respectable for a defenseman - Boyle's 0.72 is an outstanding outlier. Rob Blake averaged 0.52 during his brief time here, and some guy named Doug Wilson had 0.56 playing eighty-six games for the Sharks back in the early 90s.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that Dan Boyle is better than Mike Rathje at scoring. I know it's controversial, but that's the kind of guy I am. I tell it like it is.
Don't worry, Mike: you're still the all-time leader in shots by a Sharks' defenseman....for now.
Prediction: Sharks win 3-2, with goals from Pavelski, Boyle, and Mayers. Douglas Murray does something awesome and Dallas Stars fans call for his suspension for making the game too exciting.