As Brian Boyle continues to sit in the press box, there have been some rumblings about trading him for some defensive depth. There’s some sound logic behind this, as the Rangers desperately need a sixth defenseman capable of 10-15 minutes a night, and Brian Boyle appears to be an asset that has seen a rookie take his roster spot. It makes sense honestly.
But this is not a normal season. This is not a normal team. This is a team that is planning on playing almost every other day all the way through the end of June. The theme at this blog for the past two months has been depth, and depth is what will propel the Rangers deep into the playoffs. By trading Boyle, the Rangers trade their injury depth. It won’t happen unless a dependable forward comes back in the deal.
With the Rangers playing at least 3-4 times per week this season, plenty of guys are going to have minor nagging injuries that might need a game or two to fully heal. Without Boyle in the press box, you have guys like Brandon Segal, Kris Newbury, and Michael Haley serving as the spare forwards. There are worse options, but these guys don’t exactly give fans confidence.
There’s also the curious case of J.T. Miller to deal with. Miller has been pretty good since coming to the Rangers, but there’s no guarantee that he continues playing the way he has. He’s just 19 years old, and he’s bound to hit a few speed bumps here and there. If those speed bumps come, then the Rangers might decide to send him back to the AHL to work on the kinks.
Then there’s Jeff Halpern. While Halpern is leaps and bounds the better skater, he’s been struggling mightily in the face off dot. Face offs are the reason he was brought in, and while it’s unlikely he will see the press box because he isn’t winning 58% of draws, he might be a scratch here and there if the chemistry with Arron Asham and Darroll Powe simmers.
The point of a trade is to address a weakness by dealing from a strength. While the Rangers have depth at forward, it’s not necessarily a strength at this point in time. Sure, Boyle could fetch a good bottom pairing defenseman, but it would leave a gaping hole in the process. If the Rangers are to make a one-for-one trade, it’s unlikely Boyle would be that one. Of course, if Slats is able to get a bottom-six guy and a reliable depth forward, then by all means.