The Boyle hate is hilarious. Our blue line generates no offense, can't break out of its zone, can't run an effective power play - but yeah, there's absolutely no reason why we should be interested in Rafalski-esque Dan Boyle. At the very least, he'd give as an actual power play. You know what would've helped our cause against the Bruins? An actual power play. You know what would've helped our cause against the Bruins? Better puck management, a stronger possession game. Boyle would help on those fronts.
Niskanen - he's worth overpaying, because the need is that great, because our blue line is that bad. You may overpay by a couple million, but you're getting what you need, which is a right-shooting power play quarterback in his prime who weighs 200 lbs and isn't afraid to throw his weight around. And with the cap going up every year, there's a good chance that it looks like a great deal in a couple years. We can't be too picky here.
If we don't add a high-end top-four defenseman, we have absolutely no shot at competing for the Cup. None whatsoever. We have Kronwall, two pretty good defensive defensemen, and Brendan Smith (who's 50/50 in re: whether he's going to put it together before he becomes a reclamation project). That's it. We'll be incredibly fortunate if any one of the kids ever becomes as good as Niskanen is now or even as good as Boyle is now. Talk about risk - going with the kids would be the ultimate risk, if money alone could get us a big name who could really help (and that happens to be the case here).
Get Niskanen or Boyle and we'll be a much better team.