No one expected this season from Brian Boyle, especially given his first year in New York. However, on the flip side this surprise season also shouldn’t be that much of a shock when looking back at his pedigree (1st round pick) and hockey upbringing. Prior to coming to the Rangers, Boyle had a successful college career at Boston as well as a successful period in the AHL with Manchester before seeing his career stalling at LA and then taking his time to ‘arrive’ in NY. However, using a hockey cliché, it often takes power forwards longer to develop and the Rangers now look like they have a gem of a player. A lot of people chastised Glen Sather for giving up a 3rd round pick for Boyle but right now Sather looks like a genius. Easy to say now but I was pretty happy when the Rangers took a gamble on him. I saw him in Boston College and saw what he could be. I’m just happy he’s becoming it in NY for the Rangers. With his play this year, Brian Boyle looks headed toward a solid pay day at the end of the year which could pose the Rangers a problem financially however at the same time he could also help them answer another. The Rangers have issues (to an extent) at center but with Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov and the ever improving Boyle, the Rangers look set to be very deep at pivot for a long time, and that’s discounting any other prospects (or Brad Richards) stepping up – or in – next season.
Boyle has proven to be defensively strong, an excellent penalty killer and a scorer of key goals. To prove his clutch play he has 3 short handed points and 2 game winning goals. He’s on pace to score close to 30 goals and is becoming a force on every shift. He is also on course for over 200 hits and shots, smashing previous highs. In Boyle (potentially) I see a little bit of what the Rangers were hoping to get when the traded for Eric Lindros. Boyle has the potential to be an imposing two way center who scores goals and commands the attention of the opposition every time he steps on the ice, he just doesn’t have the top end skill Lindros had (not many do). At the end of the season, if Boyle continues at this rate, Boyle will get at least $2m off the Rangers and that’s a very conservative guess. If he does get that money, his retention could have a rippling effect on the roster including the captain’s future. Boyle is breaking out in a big way and is one big reason for why the Rangers are coping so admirably with their injury crisis. In my opinion, if it wasn’t for a certain Swede once again playing to Vezina standards Boyle would be a serious contender for Rangers MVP and (again, just my opinion) he should definitely get some Selke consideration. In the past it’s often been the Rangers looking at other teams jealously as draft picks develop elsewhere but right now I’m pretty sure the Kings are looking over to NY and are pretty jealous at what he Rangers have on their hands. Good times.