The Ducks’ search for a veteran defenseman appears to be complete with the signing of Nick Boynton early Thursday to a one-year contract. He will earn $1.5 million after making $2.95 million with the Florida Panthers in 2008-09, the final year ofa contract he originally signed with the Phoenix Coyotes.
“Nick is the type of veteran defenseman we were hoping to add to our lineup,” general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. “He’s played over 500 NHL games and brings a physical presence to our team.”
Boynton, 30, has played 505 career NHL games with Boston, Phoenix and Florida in a 10-year career. He scored 21 points (5 goals, 16 assists) with 91 penalty minutes (PIM) and a plus-7 rating in 68 games last season.
Boynton’s frequent trips to the penalty box last season raised at least some questions about his discipline but, taken differently, might make him a natural fit with the Ducks. In 2006, he was suspended one game by the NHL for making a “throat-slash” gesture toward Mike Ribeiro, then of the Canadiens.
In Anaheim, he joins a blue line that already includes Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Whitney, Luca Sbisa, Brendan Mikkelson, Brian Salcido and Sheldon Brookbank. James Wisniewski is expected to be back after filing for arbitration Sunday, and Brett Festerling has received a qualifying offer.
In February, Boynton was suspended for “insubordination” by Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer and GM Jacques Martin. A closer look at the incident, as reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, reveals it was probably a straightforward (if not loud) encounter between player and coach that was “resolved” with a lofty-sounding penalty. Boynton was eventually welcomed back to the locker room after missing five games.
The native of Nobleton, Ontario represented the Eastern Conference at the 2004 NHL All-Star Game while with the Bruins. That year he established personal highs in games played (81), assists (24) and points (30). Florida acquired Boynton and Keith Ballard from Phoenix for Olli Jokinen on June 20, 2008.