First Bad Rangers Contract of the Summer?

July 19, 2011, by

With impressive organisational depth at his position the new contract Brian Boyle received from the Rangers concerned me. Two things before I discuss this ‘issue’ though; first of all I love Boyle as a player and the way he turned his NHL career around last season and secondly l I think Glen Sather has had another excellent offseason for the Rangers. However, I’m a little uncomfortable with the Boyle contract.

The Rangers likely have Brad Richards in place as first line center for a very long time. Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky are all young, promising natural centers firmly part of the Rangers core. The club have Ryan Bourque, Andrew Yogan and Oscar Lindberg (don’t forget that guy) all as prospects-in-waiting while they also just drafted two centers in Steve Fogarty and Michael St. Croix (although I’ll grant you that they are highly unlikely to be pro’s during the life of Boyle’s new contract). That’s not even naming all the centers within the organisation but you get the point.

The Rangers did not need to reward Brian Boyle has handsomely as they did. He deserved a raise following his excellent year but what do you expect from Boyle next season? Given the depth on the roster, offensively he’s probably not going to go any higher (I hope I’m wrong). Defensively he has proved he is a physical presence that will hit, block shots and is an effective penalty killer but do you a pay a bottom 6 forward 1.7m a year for 3 years when the organisation is blessed with depth and developing prospects?

Boyle got too much dollar for too long. Given that dollars need to be carefully spent in the cap era and with a potential lockout (and more specifically) reduced cap ceiling looming, Boyle simply got too much. There’s a legitimate chance that in 2 years (perhaps even sooner) he may not even be assured a roster spot. I may be wrong but I think this is Sather’s first mistake – of sorts – of the off season. Many Rangers fans will disagree with me on this, but as I said on twitter (for those of you that follow me) one 20 goal season should not result in the contract it got especially when you  consider how much Boyle faded offensively in the last third of the season.

With wingers Chris Kreider, Christian Thomas, Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello (to name just a few) all likely on the Rangers roster sooner rather than later the Rangers may be forced to get creative and move several centers around the roster, perhaps on lines lower than ideally intended (obviously, depth is a good thing). If the Rangers intend on sticking with Richards, Dubinsky, Stepan and Anisimov for the foreseeable future Boyle becomes at best, an expensive 4th liner. Good player, awkward contract. That said, let’s finish this post on a positive note: If a somewhat generous contract to a non essential player is the biggest issue of the Rangers off season we’d all be pretty happy wouldn’t we?


  1. Blueshirt in Paris says:

    Though I am not thrilled about it either two things. I think it’s pretty much set Dubi will no be playing Center anymore. At least not with Torts and in my opinion he plays better at wing.

    On boyle, It’s also a gamble locking him up for a bit longer. The coaching and Gordie must think and believe that he will get better and thus they will have a good value. Lets say he repeats last years performance or even increase it, his value will be much more than we pay him. Nobody had any idea he was going to do what he did last season. His problem is he wore out towards the end. What is his off-season workouts addressed that?

    At that rate we would have a lot interested parties if we were to trade him to free up room for prospects or we can keep him and trade another center.

  2. Zen says:

    Why are we talking about Dubi as a center? Torts doesn’t want him there and he has been playing LW for a couple years.

    I agree with being uncomfortable with the contract. With BR in the fold, Boyle’s ice time at even strength will decrease… which makes any chance of scoring the same amount of goals literally impossible. Paying a 4th line player like that over 3 years is a big risk and takes up too much of the cap.

    BTW- the problem with Boyle’s negotiations is that he would have been an UFA next year given his age. Sather had to pay to keep him or risk losing him for nothing next year. It is tough to let a 6’7” guy who just scored 20 goals walk.

  3. Pas44 says:

    I thought BB showed everything he needed last season to get that contract, except for hitting, for a big forward he didn’t hit, but he never backed down from scrums after the whistle. If he did the same or even better in scoring would the contract be good then? Also didn;t his line get mixed becuz of injuries and normal torch mindeling??

    • freewheeler says:

      Boyle led the Rangers in hitting. A team that was near the top of the league in that category.

      • The Suit says:

        Boyle wasn’t consistently effective physically for a player his size. Pay no attention to those stats, complete scorer bias.

  4. Matt J says:

    I tend to disagree because we can throw him in the minors if it’s not working. It’s tradeable contract too. Worst contract was Feds I think but overall sather is doing well this year. I don’t imagine boyle gets resigned after the length of this contract, but that’s a few years down the road. Boyle is a solid fourth liner and nothing more really. His 20 goals may have been a fluke but that doesn’t make him a bad player.

  5. joey says:

    Not really understanding all this sather love. His tenure has been filled by offseasons that have been defined as mediocre and worse. It seems every summer there is a stupid contract given out, from brashear and kotalik two years ago to redden three years ago, not even gonna go into drury, gomez, and rozy. Additionally the Boogard contract was not a good hockey contract (nothing about the person, and obviously the tragedy that was his death, just looking at this from a solely hockey perspective), and personally im not a fan of the rupp one this summer. I think 3 years for him is absurd, and that is a much worse contract than the boyle one

    • The Suit says:

      The glass must always be half empty with you. Sather fixed every mistake he made and has taken care of his core. What more do you want?

  6. freewheeler says:

    As noted by Blueshirt, I think they prefer Dubi on the wing. I think his faceoff skills on a bad faceoff team is the only thing keeping him in the center discussion. Those other prospects you name are not locks at the center position, and for the most part are more than 3 years away. Even Anisimov could be moved to the wing if he doesn’t start winning faceoffs (though I think unlikely). He led the Rangers in hitting last year, and is still learning to be more physical. I am surprised by how many still complain about his supposed lack of physical play.

    Also, as noted by Zen, we bought out 2 UFA years. Imagine if Boyle was a UFA this year, with the kind of contracts that were doled out. With everything he does, he doesn’t need to score 20 a year to justify 1.7 over 3. And don’t forget, NY gave up a 3rd for him. They liked him from the start.

    All that said, there will need to be some juggling, as we have 5 centers. Maybe Boyle plays wing, with Stepan centering and Prust on the other wing. Feds then plays with Richards/Gabby.

  7. bryan says:

    listen if sather could trade gomez he can trade boyle if need be lol…

  8. Sioux-per-man says:

    Was Boyle’s last year a fluke?
    If a Center at 6’7, age 25, leads the team in hits, and scores 20+ goals. I would say that is a good deal, and an asset to the team. Either on the ice, or in a trade. How many games last year was Boyle and Prust line the best line on the ice? Many more than you would like to think.
    I think it was a reward for how hard he worked to get where he is. And Torts said it best, “It’s time to validate last year”. Can you do it again? I think he can. He worked all summer with Underhill which shows his commitment to improve his skating.
    I’m thinking Sather bought out 2 extra years in UFA years.
    I just want to see more games like the last game. He flat out leveled the Devils with his hits. Two of them were right in front of me, and all I could do was laugh.
    Rangers still have money left to sign the players the want, and a cupboard full of potential down the road.

  9. Chris says:

    I appreciate dubi is now a winger but I was pointing out his natural position and he affects Boyle too because it also becomes a numbers game for ice time/roster spots

  10. RangerSmurf says:

    As I told you on Twitter, definitely disagree on this being a bad deal.

    I’ll tell you now he’s not likely to repeat his 20 goal year, simply because of the numbers game suggest. He’s also not being paid to do so necessarily. If he was, he’d have gotten more, as consistent 20 goal scorers have considerable value.

    His value comes from the offensive upside to his defensive play. I’m not too worried about the center thing either, because Boyle can fairly easily shift to wing if need be.

    Maybe a year too long, as you originally said on twitter, but overall, this is a good contract.

    • The Suit says:

      Agree, plus Laich got what 4 million for 20 goals and Boyle got 1.7 mill, who has the bad contract?

  11. wwpd says:

    I can’t make much sense of the contract unless both Dubi and Stepan become wingers or if AA is traded. Then you have a good third line checking center in Boyle at $1.7 per who has learned how to move around the ice, and can score a few goals. Fine.

    But, Sather has set the bar pretty low for himself so if that is the worst contract he hands out this summer then we should throw him a party

  12. Walt says:

    What more do you want from a fourth line player. He killed penalties, checked well, played the body, come on folks do we have nothing else to bitch about. He is worth the pay he will get, and three years isn’t too bad! He and Prust are wonderful together, would hate to break up that combo.

    As for the remark about Rupp, the man will fill two roles for us. He will be our heavy weight, and yet can score, can’t say that about too many guys who are other teams goons! I watched him play against us, and it alway appeared that he found a way to hurt us, I’d rather he wear Ranger blue, than Pen’s Black & Gold.

    Last but not least, get the combo of Dubi, and calli signed, without any bad mouthing of the kids, they are the heart, and soul of this team!!!! Just my 2 cents worth of venting.

  13. Joe says:

    Walt, I just think he is a heavyweight in anyway except weight. He has always reminded me of Steve Mckenna and Voros, Heads willing to go, but the body just cant do it. He has gotten destroyed by many heavyweights and has not faired well against middleweights. I am dreading having another few years of Heavyweights like Strudwik, Voros, Mckenna etc, who routinely get their asses handed to them.

    • Blueshirt in Paris says:

      You know what, that might be the case but really its just us fans that keep the scorecard. Teammates appreciate a guy willing to stand up for the team. If he take a few more punches more then he gives you think players are gonna say, ‘ah you lost that fight… I am going to have no reaction.’

      We all know that fighting these days do not deter much but I am of the opinion that they give a team overall toughness and that make it harder to play against.

      Sure I would love the guy to win every fight but that’s just not possible. Give me toughness, dont back down, stand up for your teamates and be hard to play against. Oh and if you can chip in 10 goals, ill be that much happier.

      • Joe says:

        I’m just saying that when some loses big, it never did anything when I played. He loses big alot. Look at his fight with Orr. He just reminds me of Voros. I admire the willingness, toughness. And if its close certainly its a boost. But getting knocked out does do much of anything as far as inspiration goes. i guess we’ll have to ageee to disagree, Id rather have someone whos a badass. It makes the game more exciting for me

  14. Joe says:

    1st sentence- I just DONT Think hes a heavyweight in anyway except weight. Sorry about the fat fingers

  15. Sagebob says:

    Boyle deserved the contract and is not overpaid. Anisimov or Boyle are highly tradeable if we need to fill another spot. But the team has great balance and depth. Some more growth of the younger players and we can compete for the Cup in 2012-13.

  16. Rickyrants13 says:

    I think your not thinking this thru. The Rangers are more then likely thing Dubi on the wing for first or second line. There has also been talk about Stepan playing the wing.

    And to top it off maybe they are paying him too much but what happens if he gets even better this year??? Will we be sitting here saying he got too much then???

    Plus there is as of right now not one center on the Rangers roster that can do what he does from the 4th line. Other then AA and thats the last place I want to see AA…

    Everyone of the players you mentioned that are centers need to crack the top three lines in the next two years they are not forth line players. And the ones that are are more then two years away So they will come in around the time Boyle is almost done.

    And if Boyle getting tired at the end of the season is something that is gonna keep happening there is no way of knowing this now. He more then likely got tired because it was his first full year of playing at that level. So with that he should get stronger each year he does…

  17. Rob says:

    Don’t you have better things to write about this off-season? You want to talk about bad contracts? How about Wade Redden or Chris Drury or Gomez or Boogard? Now those were bad contracts, not Boyle’s. He is a young, big, center who improved his skating tremendously, scored almost as many goals as Gaborik, played well defensively, blocked shots, and was among the league leaders in hits. I don’t agree with everything the Sather does but I have absolutely no problem with this signing.

    • scrangersfan says:

      Rob, you forgot to add Holik and Breshier to the bad contracts they were also signed by Sather.
      I think the signing of Boyle is a good and fair signing,we know what he is capable of where the prospect coming up are what they’re,just prospects. They could come up and play great or the could become players like EC. OR WW.tHEY were also great prospects 1st round picks.So why agonize over something we do not know how it plays out.

    • Dave says:

      We have many things to write about this summer. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write about it.

  18. Rumblefish says:

    Slats was at one time a sure Hall Of Fame candidate. Based on what he has done 9or didn’t do) with the Rangers, he will stand in line to get in, just like the rest of us.

  19. rob sahm says:

    i have no problem with the boyle signing nobody knows if any of the prospects we have will turn out to be stars. boyle is a good penalty killer and grinder who takes the body but needs to fight a little better to me he can turn into another keith primeau type of player the kid is only going to get better

  20. Ranger Dave says:

    You are 100% wrong. In the inflated market this summer a 6’7″, 20 goal scoring center, who has PK and PP effectiveness, could have easily gotten 3 million per. This contract is fair to both parties. Boyle gets rewarded for a great season with a longer contract, the Rangers get a low cap hit per year. If he does not make the roster for whatever reason this is a contract that is SO easy to move. Probably the stupidest hockey article I have read all summer.

  21. Arne says:

    I am a FLYERS fan.I love hockey i follow it all ahl,nhl,ohl,ihl and to have a guy of his size that can skate and score plus play awsome defence he deserves the money.he is a beast that i would love to have on my team.his physical presance is just awsome.you dont get guys like him,they are rare.good luck to the rangers this year they will be better New York.See Philly fans are not all bad.