Stay or Go: Brian Boyle

April 30, 2011, by

One of the biggest surprises during the first half of the season was the breakout performance of Brian Boyle.  He along with Feds and Prust were almost the essence of what John Tortorella hockey is all about – relentless forechecking, physicality, and getting off 2nd chances in the crease. They were the definition of bang and crash hockey.

Thanks to off-season training with famed power skating coach Barbara Underhill, Boyle came out of the gate looking like a completely different skater from last year. His posture was much improved, there was less body movement within his stride, and his overall technique was just far more efficient. As a result, Boyle was skating with more explosiveness and balance than ever before.  And of course there were the goals.

Through the first half of the season Boyle had 14 goals and 22 points in 41 games.  You could argue that because of this production the Rangers were staying afloat offensively. Then something happened during the second half. His production dropped faster than Bobby Bacala at a toy store (I miss Sopranos!). Over his final 41 games, he registered just 7 goals and 13 points with none in the playoffs.

While Boyle’s skating technique was still comparable with the first half, his stamina looked to be running near empty.  He no longer beat defenders off the rush, he didn’t drive to the net as much, and he just seemed to be missing that “extra step” on the forecheck.  He also didn’t use his god given size as much as he should have. I mean Ryan Callahan and Brandon Prust hit much harder and they’re half his size.

You could argue that stamina was a factor and although I wouldn’t disagree, you could make the same excuses for Prust, and yet he delivered the same offensive output consistently all season, plus he was tasked with fighting guys out of his weight class.

Now this doesn’t mean I don’t see the value in what Boyle provides or that I am downgrading his importance to the team. However, if the Rangers plan on pursuing an elite center either through free agency or via a trade (and I believe they will), then I think Boyle should be shopped.

Coming off a 21 goal season at $500K, his services will definitely be coveted and he could fetch a decent return.  For the Rangers, if we have Stepan, Anisimov, a Hartford player, Drury and/or an elite center down the middle, then will be more than fine without him.

Categories : Offseason, Players


  1. Bobby says:

    I would love to trade Boyle. I think his value is about as high as it ever will be and we are deep enough down center where he is expendable.

  2. Brian SCS says:

    Definately Keep him, yes he tailed off this year but centers with his size and speed don’t grow on trees. He may not be the hardest hitter but he has learned to use his body better to his advantage and was very effective at sealing players off along the boards and getting in on the forecheck. And he is effective at blocking shots. 21 goals is not chump change the way the Rangers offense has been.

    The main reason I don’t want to trade him now is I don’t believe that he’s a finished product. Bigger players typically take longer to refine their game and he has earned the chance to show if he can bring his game over an entire 82 game schedule next year. You may be right that he has come close to reaching his potential, I however want to see if this true before giving up on him.

    Also, he seems to be a tremendous character guy, the type of player that other players want to play for and coaches want to coach.

  3. the duke says:

    His value has never been higher and I’m in favor of trading him besides for a guy his size in the fights he had this season he didn’t win any of them

  4. The Suit says:

    Although I prefer to trade him now (as is value will be lower next summer when he scores only like 12 goals), I wouldn’t be disappointed if he remains a Ranger.

    If he does stay, dude needs to work on face-offs. Third line centers are supposed to be winning 52%+ of F/O’s and should be owning people on the PK.

    Boyle won only 48% overall and 44% on the PK. That my fellow suit’s is sub par.

    • RangerSmurf says:

      Historically speaking, teams on the PK are at a disadvantage in terms of FO%. Obviously good faceoff guys usually can overcome that disadvantage, but Boyle being lower on the PK is not a surprise.

  5. Mikeyyyy says:

    I’m sure he will get better. They asked him to improve aspects of his game and he has improved every year.

    You don’t get rid of guys like this. You get rid of wowo or buy out drury to make space for this guy

  6. Fotiu is God says:

    Yo Suit:
    If the proposition/roster spot is reduced to B-squared versus EC I’m going Boyle. The Pros: Can’t teach size. Better playoff ‘stache than Dubinsky. Sticks up for teammates. A marauding beast when he barrels to the net.

    The Cons: Yes, his production tanked. Some of the more clued-in posters here cite what apparently were stamina issues, not to mention the fact most of the tranny hookers I know smack harder than Boyle.

    Addressing the former: Let’s get him on HGH/tes. Someone call Victor at BALCO.

    Now the latter. Maybe in lieu of more power-skating this off-season, Chris Nilan takes him on as a student. Just keep him out of the surf shop. Don’t want Knuckles penchant for shoplifting rubbing off on our number three centerman.

  7. Matt J says:

    How can a guy like Boyle shoot the puck so much and only find the twine 21 times? I wouldn’t be upset if they traded him maybe for a draft pick I would. They should only trade him if they are going to get a another winger. Or the Stastny deal which looks pretty impossible. I never liked that trade from the start. Plus I don’t think they want him anyway, they are probably looking for Dubi.

  8. Rick Rants says:

    Okay folks we have to think here before we jump. If he is used in a trade that brings in a proven tallent then thats one thing but to trade him just because he tailed off at the end of the season is nuts Or because we have alot of centers is nuts We dont have anyone in the middle his size at all. An lets face it the hardest working lin on the team is gonna wear down near the end.

    Also this was his first year skating at the level he was skating at this year. It is gonna take awhile for a guy that big to get use to that. And if he did this well in his first year. There is no telling where he will bring his game.

    You dont give up on guys that get it And he clearly gets it. He was by far the most improved player on this team Those are the kind you keep…

    • Michelle says:

      I totally agree. Boyle was the most improved player this year and I am sure will be working hard in the off season to get even better. I did not get the impression that he was completly satisfied with his game. He knows he can get better and will be working towards that goal.

  9. The Suit says:

    All good points.

  10. Rob says:

    Do not trade Boyle!!! His size along with his much improved skating make him a very valuable asset. There were many games where his line was the best on the ice. I can’t believe I’m even reading this article. We would be trading half the team based solely on 2nd half production.

  11. LJB says:

    I met Brian towards the end of his first season. He is a hardworking guy with a great attitude. This was proven by his off season work and the vast improvement in his game this season. You can nitpick every player’s game all off season you want (I’m sure that is going to happen). The reality is this season was dedicated to growing our youth. Stick with the plan! The youth of this team has exceeded expectations. Don’t shop that value for another peaked superstar. As much as I’ve loved some of our acquired stars, they just haven’t provided the value we needed. Continue to build the youth and let them grow.

  12. Sioux-per-man says:

    You will see Boyle back as a Ranger. His contract fits what the Rangers will need, if they sign Richards in the off season.
    His line was one of the best 4th lines the Rangers have had in years.
    Now he just needs to do it again! Like Tort’s is asking of that line. They need to validate the year they had this year. I believe Torts will put Feds/Avery here depending who is back next year. Something tells me Feds over Avery, but you never know.

    I do not see Drury’s contract fitting in with the Rangers plans. Good thing they can afford to buy him out and “let” him walk away.