With the regular season coming to an end in a few short weeks, speculation will increase as to whether Brian Boyle should be retained or not. For the right price, Glen Sather should absolutely keep Boyle – for the short term. It may be Boyle’s demands that scupper any extension with New York, but from a pure skill perspective he still fills multiple needs for the Rangers.
The Rangers are not a good face-off team. Derek Stepan is at best inconsistent in the face-off circle and, with Brad Richards likely to leave in the summer, the Rangers definitely need some face-off proficiency wherever they can get it. This is a big reason why keeping Boyle is a wise move. Boyle is a solid defensive player (he’s one of the best fourth line players in the game) and he’s essential to the penalty kill, A big part of that is because of his face-off ability.
While the Rangers have a prospect such as Oscar Lindberg in the wings (who according to reports, excels in the circle), too much turnover at center ice is never a good thing. Boyle’s ability to play the wing is an additional benefit and given his skill set, should he become marginalised during his next contract – because of the progression of someone like Lindberg – he’d surely be an easy player to move on. Strong face-off guys with size are always in demand.
As always, price will be a huge influence on Boyle’s future. Several weeks ago Boyle sounded pessimistic as to whether his future was with the Rangers, so it doesn’t sound like the Rangers were overly keen to commit, particularly if his cost was to rise. With 15 points on the season, Boyle has chipped in a decent amount of offense from the 4th line especially. When you account for his usage (24% OZ starts) and the inconsistent nature of New York’s offense, it’s on par with reasonable expectations.
Boyle will never reach the 20-goal plateau again, nor should he be expected to, but he’s a great fit as a 4th line defensive role player. Retaining Boyle at his current rate for a year or two would be a solid deal for both sides. An even better deal for the Rangers would be if he would be willing to reduce his salary demands (unlikely). Could Boyle earn more elsewhere? Absolutely. There are plenty of teams looking for centermen. With cap floors to reach for many teams, it’s a big offseason for Boyle as he ponders his future.
At this stage, it’s unclear whether Boyle’s priority is money or a more prominent role elsewhere. But if he’s willing to commit to the Rangers on a team friendly deal then the Rangers should retain the big bodied Boyle. A player that adds to team depth, who brings face-off skills and assists a solid penalty kill. Why would you give up a player who can do all that?"Should the Rangers retain Brian Boyle?",