Don’t expect Boyle to be moved any time soon

February 13, 2013, by
(Scott Levy/NHLI/Getty Images)

(Scott Levy/NHLI/Getty Images)

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.

Categories : Musings


  1. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I actually want to see Boyle back in the line up. I think he will be hungry and playing on the 4th line he will be in a spot where he wont be anything other than an upgrade in size and skill over Halpren. I am not impressed with Halpren at all. He has done a good job on the PK but that is something Boyle can do as well. Boyle can play third line minutes where as Halpren can not, and I think benching him for these games he sat we will see a much more aggressive Boyle. Though he can’t fight well he still fights which may be needed from time to time.
    If I could make one trade I would trade for Colton Orr and resign Blair Betts. Betts would be a great depth player and Orr is a high echelon 4th line guy as he is one of the best fighters out there and Orr did wear his heart in New York Blue. There is no need for any drastic moves yet. Stepan, Hagelin and Nash are starting to gel and Stepan also has chemistry with Gaborik. So not a wise choice to trade Stepan just yet.
    As for a depth defenseman that one is tough, Bickel also fills a need in certain games and Gilroy has played well. Del Zotto and Gilroy as the third pair is fine with me. Stralman has been a stud this year and I think makes a fine partner for Staal. So who can be brought in? I have always liked Douglass Murray but what is the asking price for his services?
    I were Sather I would look to see what it would take to trade for Eric Gundbranson. I would trade Del Zotto for him. The Bruins have Dougie Hamilton wow…that team just picks em with other peoples draft picks. First it was Seguin and now Hamilton. I really do not know what UFA defenseman remain but that would be the route I would take. Curtis Foster I think is still available and would be a good signing. Who are left as UFA Defensemen?

    • Dave says:

      Wouldn’t shock me to see him back in the lineup over the weekend. That’s when a decision with Miller needs to be made.

    • Tim B says:

      Colton Orr has a big contract. Not woth trading for him. I would trade for Betts (used to be my fav player) to replace an old worn out inconsistent Halpern. So If Betts were to come in than Halpern would be scratched in my opinion.

  2. Walt says:

    I see Boyle being hungry, and pissed off. When he returns to the line up he will bust his tail to stay there. As the 4th line center, with Asham, and Powe, he would work out very well. Halpern is long a tooth, and this will give him some rest as well.

    I still contend that Boyle misses his roomy Prust, and it has affected his game!!!!!

  3. Mikeyyy says:

    Convert him to D

    • Dave says:

      Again with this. Dude can’t skate well enough to play defense.

    • Matt Josephs says:

      I don’t know why some people are fascinated with moving players to other positions. Gilroy to winger, Boyle to defense…. Why?

      • Dave says:

        I guess it’s the Byfuglien effect?

        • Matt Josephs says:

          I guess. But who besides Byfuglien has converted to another position in the modern era and was successful? The last guy I remember was Fedorov.

          Also, Jason Strudwick brings back some bad memories I might add.

          • Dave says:

            I’m guessing you mean D to forward or forward to D?

            Other than Byfuglien, Strudwick comes to mind. But only Buff was a good player at both positions.

            • Matt Josephs says:

              Yeah I was only talking about D to forward or vice versa. Stu Bickel technically counts in that regard but you know, he’s Stu Bickel.

              • Dave says:

                Yea but Bickel was never really successful. Strudwick could at least fake it for 8-10 minutes.

          • Mikeyyy says:

            Dubi went to left wing.

            Boyle played D in college and was converted to forward, because his skating at the time was bad…it’s better now.

            Gabby played left and right wing. Nash did the same. Jt miller came in as a wing and now plays center….

            Messier was a left wing converted to center.

            There are lots out there. Why not try it? What do they have to lose?

            If you had to sit a dman or one got hurt, who would you rather have, Bickel or Boyle ?

            • Dave says:

              Converting to a different forward position is infinitely easier than converting from forward to D or vice versa. This gets infinitely harder at the NHL level.

              Flat out, Boyle cannot play defense in the NHL. He hasn’t played the position since he turned pro.

              If I had a choice between Bickel or Boyle on defense, I’d choose Eminger.

            • Matt Josephs says:

              Boyle played defense in college for one season because their team was short on defenseman. Other than that one season Boyle never played defense when it mattered.

          • rickyrants13 says:

            Most players that have switched didnt have Gilroys skating ability. And Strudwick sure as hell wasnt one of them. Gilroy is built more like a forward then a D man

  4. Cy says:

    Best comment I have seen is about C Orr. It’s not nostalgia for the ’70’s to say that hockey (and most team sports) will always involve some intimidation. This Ranger team is too soft. Orr would be a great addition. Beyond that though, (i) a power forward or 2, and (ii) a clear out d-man, all with Tortorella “jam” in their game are necessary ingredients for a Cup. Think the final ingredients of ’94: Matteau, Noonan, Wells. Other guys then play bigger….

    • Dave says:

      Orr can’t skate man, Torts would eat him alive. Even Leafs fans don’t want him.

      They need a Doug Murray type on the blue line, and they need/want Miller to continue to develop at the NHL level. The forwards are fine as long as Miller continues to play well.

      • Cy says:

        I guess my point is every team needs one monster who can take on the opponent’s monster. After that, every team needs Neely/Lucic/Graves types (or reasonable facsimiles) who can play and also keep opponent honest, while not drawing ridiculous scrutiny from refs since they are not just on ice for sole purpose of intimidation/fisticuffs. Same thing on D….

        • Dave says:

          Difference between Neely/Lucic/Graves and Orr is that the first three could, you know, play hockey.

          • mark says:

            I think CY was saying..after you have monster then you need a power forward.. I agree.. The rangers current lineup is doing well but is soft. They took too much crap from Senators and Caps last year..those series’ should never have gone to 7 and it wore them out. I say start dishing it out a little.

            • rickyrants13 says:

              Those teams took us that far because we couldnt score. We are way bigger this year

            • Dave says:

              You don’t need a goon to win. Powe, Asham, Staal, and McDonagh do enough of the physical battling.

    • rickyrants13 says:

      The Devils or LA had none f that last year

  5. DaveR says:

    Boyle’s not a goal scorer, so if he’s not throwing hits why play him? JT Miller is playing hard, that’s why he’s playing. If Miller or even Kreider needs to straighten some things out in the minors or someone gets hurt or is in Tort’s dog house,they have Boyle. Let’s not start throwing in little chunks of so-so talent that improves nothing. They didn’t have a lot of time to gel with the new players they got, so it doesn’t make sense for them to get more new players and try to fit them in too. Before you know it, all the young guys get traded and it’s back to being a team with no chemistry and no identity. A little winning streak is what they need and it’s three in a row right now. And they scored at least four goals in all three. Let who’s there try and keep it going.

  6. bernmeister says:

    Not a bad article overall. I view it as pre-judgmental to say “J.T. Miller … pretty good since coming to the Rangers, but there’s no guarantee that he continues … 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.”

    IMO, the only reason to send him back after 5 games is with an eye toward long term salary picture and not burning off the first year of his ELC. That said, he’s producing NOW, we need that production NOW, have no cushion to fall games behind in short season. Even with a bump IF one comes, I take the kid now.

    Boyle/Stepan should not be rushed out the door, but if upgrade is possible, then we probably should do it, depending upon what it is.

  7. Cy says:

    Sorry – can’t let this go just yet. Powe/Asham/Staal/McD aren’t big enuf or tough enuf to get job done, and shouldn’t have to. To win Cup, team can’t just be “game” to battle, hit, fight; it has to WIN the battles, hitting, fights, which emboldens skill players, buys them room and lets them flourish. Graves/Lucic/Beuke not goons. Plus, one goon per team is ok. JScott couldn’t make it here last yr but he changed game when he destroyed Thornton v. Bruins this yr. Look how Orr did it when he took Scott earlier this yr. Look how Fotiu or Kocur used to to it for the NYR. Look how timid we were in playoffs last yr v. Sens and Devils. Goals win games but they can’t be scored if one is on one’s butt or if one’s knees are knocking out of fear….