With the recent acquisition of Brian Boyle from the LA Kings, for a 2010 3rd round pick, the Rangers acquired a very big center that can fight, and presumably skate. I say presumably because I really don’t know much on him. What I do know is that Boyle is 6’7 250 lbs, and is just a beast. He may have a little bit of an offensive touch to him, he put up decent numbers in the AHL for a fighter. This pickup also gives the Rangers their very own 2003 first round pick, so now they are not the only team in the NHL that didn’t have a 2003 first rounder play in the NHL.
With this trade, the Rangers are tipping their hand at their offseason plans. It is known that Fred Sjostrom was not qualified as an RFA, and that Colton Orr was not being pursued at the moment for next season. Boyle can replace Orr as the fighter, so no big deal there. As much as I love Orr, he is replaceable. Orr will get considerable interest from a lot of NHL teams, after making incredible improvements in his skating last season. What I don’t like here is that Boyle also replaces Blair Betts as the fourth line center. It’s tough to watch the best penalty killing unit in the NHL not get resigned, but I guess that’s hockey.
The more you think about it, the more you realize that there is no way Betts was going to be back next season. Superb on the kill he may be, but he has little offensive talent, and saw a dramatic decrease in playing time under the John Tortorella regime. It’s safe to assume that Betts wants more playing time, maybe even on a third line (or a team that rolls four lines….Edmonton).
I don’t know if a 4th line of (insert LW)-Boyle-Jordan Owens is an upgrade over Orr-Betts-Sjostrom. It depends on how effective the new guys are on the PK, and if they can actually net a few goals.
But, I guess it’s time to say goodbye to Colton Orr, Blair Betts, and Fred Sjostrom. And it’s also time to give a big thank you to Sjostrom and Betts, talking about a fantastic PK tandem.