By John Vogl
The New York Islanders, to the dismay of Sabres fans, apparently have no desire to finish near the bottom of the standings again next year.
The Isles have acquired the rights to defenseman Dan Boyle from San Jose. Boyle, a 15-year veteran who holds most of the Sharks' records for blue-liners, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. If the Islanders sign him, they owe San Jose a fourth-round pick in 2015. If they don't, San Jose gets a fifth-round choice.
New York recently employed the same strategy with pending UFA Jaroslav Halak. They signed the goaltender and hope they've strengthened themselves in net.
The Isles finished fifth from the bottom in the NHL this year, which gave them the No. 5 pick in this month's draft. They elected to keep it rather than give it to Buffalo as part of the Thomas Vanek trade, so the Sabres will get New York's first-round pick in 2015. If the Islanders keep adding key players, the pick they give to Buffalo will be much worse than No. 5.