Nashville Preds acquire Boyle, McLeod

New Jersey Devils Nashville Predators Brian Boyle
Former New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) was traded to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday. (Alex Edelman/UPI photo)

NASHVILLE (UPI) — The Nashville Predators acquired veteran forwards Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod on Wednesday, the team announced.

The Predators sent a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Boyle. The 34-year-old forward is in the final season of his two-year, $5.1 million contract he signed with the Devils in July 2017. He can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

“I’m real excited to be a part of this Nashville team,” Boyle told reporters. “Just being a fan of the game and seeing what they’ve been able to do, the team and how it’s built, speaking with [Predators general manager David Poile and coach Peter Laviolette], it’s just a real exciting time for me and for us.”

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound forward provides Nashville with more special-teams experience. The Predators have converted on 12.9 percent of their power plays, tied with the Montreal Canadiens for the lowest percentage in the league.

Nashville acquired McLeod in a deal with the New York Rangers. The Predators gave up a seventh-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Boyle and McLeod (6-foot-2, 204 pounds) also add size and physicality to Nashville’s lineup. The Predators lost Austin Watson (suspension) and Zac Rinaldo (shoulder surgery), leaving the team in need of more physicality.

“I think we wanted to have more size in our lineup, especially with losing Austin Watson and now Zac Rinaldo being out the rest of the season,” Poile told reporters. “I think we crossed off those boxes with adding Cody McLeod, for sure, and the physical size and Brian Boyle, both from the physical size but also I think he’s a player that’s going to get used in a lot of different areas for our club to make some differences.”

Boyle had 19 points (13 goals, six assists) in 47 games with the Devils this season. McLeod, who previously played two seasons with the Predators from 2016-18, tallied one goal in 31 games with the Rangers this year.

Nashville (32-19-4) is in second place in the tough Central Division, trailing the Winnipeg Jets by three points. Boyle and McLeod likely will play in the team’s matchup against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

Reporting by Connor Grott

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