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The Toronto Maple Leafs bolstered their playoff hopes with the addition of veteran centre Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In a deal first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Leafs sent minor-league forward Byron Froese and a second-round pick to the Lightning for the eight-year NHL veteran and penalty-killing specialist.
The Leafs had been linked to Boyle for days, ahead of Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
Boyle, 32, was drafted 23th overall by the Kings in 2003 and played with the Rangers before spending the last three years with Tampa. He has 13 goals and nine assists in 54 games with Tampa this season.
With the Leafs lagging in faceoff performance — Tyler Bozak is injured, and Ben Smith has trailed off since a hand injury several weeks ago — there has been a need to upgrade in that area. Boyle has won 53 per cent of faceoffs this season, and 50 per cent in his career. Smith may be the odd man out if the Boyle deal is completed.
In other Leafs news, rookie sensation Mitch Marner — out the past five games with a shoulder injury — practised with the team in San Jose on Monday and is expected to face the Sharks Tuesday night.