Brian Boyle calls signing with Lightning ‘a huge option’

Sportsnet 590 The FAN's Joe Bowen can barely contain himself as Kasperi Kapanen scores the winner in the Maple Leafs second overtime period against the Washington Capitals.

After a short stint as the wily old veteran for the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ 2017 playoff run, unrestricted free agent Brian Boyle hasn’t ruled out a return to Tampa Bay.

The 32-year-old centreman said a reunion with his former club would be welcome for him and his family, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

“We love Tampa,” Boyle said on Sunday. “If Tampa wanted to work out a deal, that’s definitely a huge option for us. That’s something that I’ve kind of always thought about. I haven’t closed the door on anything.”

Boyle spent parts of three seasons with the Lightning, joining the club prior to the 2014-15 campaign and remaining until this past trade deadline, when he was shipped to Toronto in exchange for Byron Froese and a 2017 second-round pick.

He posted 41 goals and 66 points during his 212-game tenure in Tampa Bay, coming just three goals shy of the total he posted in five seasons with the New York Rangers.

That offensive success is likely a factor in Tampa Bay remaining a potential landing spot for the big-bodied pivot, who says he holds no ill will towards Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman for dealing him last season.

“I understand the part of the game – that makes sense to me,” Boyle said of his deadline-day change of address. “I could definitely understand why things were done the way they were done, the situation the team was in, with the cap. You have to roll with it, it’s going to happen. It’s not a personal thing, can’t take it personally.”

While Boyle is open to a return, it’s unclear at this point whether or not the Lightning share that interest. The club still has a few key deals to work out, most notably those concerning restricted free-agents Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. But if Yzerman is looking to make a play for his former depth pivot, it doesn’t seem as though Boyle will require much convincing.

“(Tampa) is a great place to be, great place to start a family,” Boyle said. “And, honestly, we’ll see what they say. You want to be wanted. That’s the other part.”

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