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Can Boyle Repeat His Performance?

August 16, 2011, by

In my post yesterday, Brian Boyle was brought up as a potential candidate to have a surprise season.  Rickyrants13 was right, and I should have included him in my list of players that had a surprise season last year (oversight on my part).  But his comment got me thinking: is it possible for Boyle to repeat that performance next season?

Boyle’s production last season more than quintupled from any of his previous career highs.  He scored 21 goals (previous high of 4), added 14 assists (previous career high of 2), and totaled 35 points (previous high of 6).  After working with Barbara Underhill, it was clear that Boyle’s skating had improved drastically, and it showed on the stat sheet.

The little downer here is Boyle’s second half production.  Boyle showed he was a renewed player when he scored ten goals in the first two months of the season.  He then added another four goals in December (and seven assists) to give him 14 goals through the first half of the year.  After that, Boyle’s production was cut exactly in half.

From January through the end of the season, Boyle scored seven goals and seven assists.  Those numbers aren’t bad by any means, but they were well off the pace that Boyle set for himself from October through December.  Taking those last few months of the season into account, Boyle averaged 14 goals and 14 assists for a full season.

What does help Boyle’s cause is the depth down the middle for the Rangers.  Where Boyle was a third line center last year, he is destined to be the fourth line center with Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, and Artem Anisimov likely filling the top three center positions.  Getting fourth line duties on a team this deep at center is not a slight to Boyle in any stretch, but it is a recognition of the talent ahead of him.  Better talent ahead of him means easier defensive assignments for Boyle’s line.  Easier defensive assignments naturally leads to more production.

The eternal optimist in my thinks that Boyle can repeat his performance and become one of the best bargains in the NHL.  However, the realist in me thinks that expecting Boyle to score 20 goals is a bit unfair.  The league clearly caught on to his ability to put the puck in the net, and the drop in production was very evident.  Boyle’s scoring clearly helped the Rangers overcome a myriad of injuries last season, but repeating that performance goes a long way to solidifying this team as a true contender.


  1. Zen says:

    Not a chance Boyle repeats his goal-scoring performance from last year. Even if he got the same amount of ice time (which he won’t), I’m not sure he could do it again.

  2. Sioux-per-man says:

    Boyle and Prust both had career years last year. To ask if they can match last year success on the score board, why not. In several games last year, with or without injuries, they were the best line on the ice. They where grinding out short hand goals, adding the spark and energy to the game when other lines came out flat.
    What I enjoyed most last year was watching them play 110% every shift. It didn’t matter if it was Boyle or Prust scoring, they were having the time of their life playing as a Ranger.
    Will he score 20 goals this year? The odds would pick the under. Give or take a few goals, I say he will be at 30 points this season.

  3. ArtyFan says:

    I said yesterday, that it’s impossible for him repeat last season by many reasons( ice time, injuries less, Richards in, his conditioning), but good solid 3rd-4th liner. Don’t forget, he isn’t kid at 26+, Prust even without scoring has his role and any contribution is a plus.

  4. Matt J says:


  5. Rickyrants13 says:

    Your mentioning what I said to you was pure class. And thankyou. As for what you said about Boyle repeating what he did last year. One would have to say that if he scores even 15 goals then he had a good season right?

    So with that said everyone has mentioned that he scored 21 goals mostly in the first half of the season and this is true. And how he wore down as the season went along…

    But no one has mentioned that even a rookie wears down as the season goes along. And that is because he is not use to playing as many games against much bigger and fater players. And given Boyles new style of play and the fact that he has never played at that level for a whole season wouldnt it be fair to say that it was expected?

    I think given the known fact hat it was his first season playing at that level And also playing with no top notch tallent on his line that if put in the right position He could top that mark.

    Players will go down thats a given. Some players will out play others. So with that we need to let the season play its course and see where the chips fall. But in the end I see alot more good from this kid then bad thats for sure…

    • ArtyFan says:

      I respect your opinion and really hope me being wrong, but let’s face it the reality. Will you allow me to compare him with MDZ started his rookie season? MDZ was unknown to NHL and his ‘key’ was long passes to Gabby. After a while he was read by others Ds and his game went down(production). Boyle was also unknown to NHL as he played different last season and opposite Ds didn’t pay to much attention to him, but after a while coaches make them do the adjustment playing against his line and numbers were dramatically down. His D game wishes better. Can Boyle be the same guy from last season? Sure, but I’m not expecting production from him, that’s why many analysts consider his contract paid upfront and his $$$ will not be paid off. BUT I really hope I’m wrong. Being on 4th line and paying him about 2ml for 3 doesn’t look any good.

      • Rickyrants13 says:

        I agree with you somewhat. But my def of Boyle is this. He will get better. Last year was his first year playing like that I do feel he will grow on that. And at his size and showing the signs of learning and going out and doing what much more tallented players then he. Have not done. And thats use the off season the way it should be used as a way to improve. I believe he has what it takes between the ears and all the other tools to improve on what we saw last year.

        The ??? we all should be asking ourselves is will he get the chance. I do believe that he was given a chance last year when we all were wondering why he even was on the team. So now only time will tell. I too hope your wrong. But for all the right reasons…