Forward Brian Boyle is expected to sign a one-year deal worth $750,000 with the Pittsburgh Penguins after a successful camp with the club. This signing comes after Boyle was on a professional tryout with the team.
Yes, Brian Boyle will be accompanying #pens on their flight to Tampa this afternoon, expected to sign a 1-year, $750,000 deal with PIT tomorrow.
What a story. The 36-year-old did not get a deal last season, played for Team USA at the Worlds and worked his way back to NHL on PTO.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 11, 2021
The Story of Brian Boyle
If you want a story of perseverance, look no further than the career of Brian Boyle. Diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia on Sept. 19, 2017, Boyle’s life was forever changed.
Boyle entered the league in 2007 as a 26th overall pick by the L.A. Kings. The towering 6’6” centreman gained the reputation and respect of his peers as one of the best defensive-forwards and face-off artists in the NHL. He lent his talents to four different teams in the first 10 years of his career, helping both the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning make the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
But after a routine blood test during training camp with the Devils in 2017, his physical yielded abnormal results. Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and invades the blood. Originally, Boyle was told by doctors that it could take up to 18 months before the disease would go into full remission. Fortunately, he would enter remission in 12 months and 33 days.
Despite the diagnosis, Boyle pushed through and would play 69 games with the Devils, recording 13 goals and 10 assists. He would also play in the NHL All-Star game and receive the Bill Masterton Award from the Professional Hockey Writers Association for his perseverance and dedication to the sport.
Playing time and his roles with teams began to diminish, and entering the 2020-21 season Boyle found himself on the outside looking in. Boyle believed his body was sharp and ready to go for the shortened 2020-21 season. However, 31 NHL teams did not seem to agree. And so for the first time since breaking into the league in 2008, Boyle found himself watching the league move on without him.
An Opportunity Presents Itself
Boyle knew he had more to add to his legacy. His work in the greatest league in sports was not over. Boyle continued his workouts and on-ice drills throughout last season. His efforts awarded him a PTO on the eve of camp with the Penguins this year.
Injuries to Crosby and Malkin to start the year have exposed a lack of centre depth for the Penguins. An opportunity for Boyle to insert himself into the opening day lineup presented itself. Pairing that opportunity with a productive camp, he’s now on the verge of signing a one-year deal with Pittsburgh.
Boyle’s leadership, perseverance, and dedication to the sport will be most welcomed into the Penguins’ locker room. It’s hard not to believe those honourable attributes will rub off on the rest of the roster.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images