The New Brian Boyle

Entering this season, Brian Boyle was an afterthought for most Ranger fans. Many weren’t too impressed with his play last year, and deemed the trade of a third round pick for the very tall center as a wasted pick. This was for good reason of course, as Boyle showed limited mobility on the ice, and didn’t live up to the expectations of what a third round pick should bring, let alone a former first round pick. Boyle spent all of last season centering the fourth line, while most of his wingers were changing throughout the season. At the end of the season, Boyle knew that his standing with the club was on thin ice.

This past summer, Boyle worked very hard, specifically with the Rangers new skating coach Barbara Underhill, who was a former Olympic skater. The improvement is very evident, as Boyle has been one of the best Rangers skaters thus far this season. In fact, Boyle has been so good that coach John Tortorella is starting to give Boyle some important penalty kill minutes and some additional third line time while the Rangers are dealing with injuries.

The results have also shown on the stat sheet for Boyle, who is off to his best start since he broke into the NHL with the Kings during the 2007-2008 season. Boyle has four goals thus far this year, and while he is unlikely to continue this pace, he will definitely be setting a new career high in points (currently 4-1-5) and goals (4) this season. The way it stands now, Boyle has cemented himself in the Rangers lineup when Marian Gaborik, Chris Drury, and Vinny Prospal all return from injury. Generally it’s unwise to get excited over a fast start, especially from a player like Boyle, but the vast improvement in his skating ability is making many, including myself, believe he can keep it up for a full season.

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  1. You have to like it when a guy that big is showing some mobility. The learning curve on those bigger guys is pretty gradual, but they can become major assets if they figure it out (look at Pronger and Chara).

  2. Yea, it seems that the taller you are, the longer it takes to get it all together, in any sport. Look at Randy Johnson, he didn’t get it together until he was 30.

    1. Sweet…that means by the end of Boogaard’s contract, he should only be half useless.

  3. I have been very impressed with Boyle so far in the season. He uses his size with intelligence and rarely is there a point in the game when Boyle is not giving 100% effort.

    Currently he is gelling well with his team and his line and seems like a good fit for Tort’s system. Here’s hoping Boyle will continue to impress for the remainder of the season.

  4. Boyle is gaining some swagger due to the increasing playing time and the fact that he’s already matched his season high in goals only a few weeks into the season. I hope they don’t cut his time too much when Gab/Prospal/Dru come back.

    1. I don’t think they will. He has earned his time. The player in most danger is EC, and that’s not just my personal bias. Torts essentially said so.

  5. His wrist shot looks good too. I guess bringing in 40 forwards this year lite a fire under boyle and good for him seems like a nice guy. I know he hade some o skills in college and it seems that it takes college players longer to adjust to today’s NHL the other who play in juniors outta high school

  6. Boyle has looked better in every aspect of his game this year – skating, shooting, hitting and maybe most importantly his willingness to drive to the net. The only issue now is finding the best way to use him when Drury and Gaborik return.
    I never had a problem with Slats giving up a 3rd rounder for a player with Boyle’s size and potential. I remember Larry Brooks bashing the trade at the time, big surprise there, I wonder what he thinks now.

    1. I didn’t like the trade either, but it wasn’t a massive team-ruiner, so it wasn’t worth bashing.

      When Gaborik returns, I am assuming Grachev goes, and then White once Drury returns. Guessing EC/Boogy share the 4th line LW spot, insert Drury into Christensen’s spot for now.

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