Irresponsible Rumormongering

Thoughts on the Rangers and the Brian Boyle rumor

One of the more interesting discussion points lately has been center depth. The Rangers are lacking, and there was a rumor the Rangers were talking to Brian Boyle. Boyle, 36, should be a familiar name with Rangers fans. He was a key cog in the bottom-six of the great Rangers teams that just missed it during the 2012-2015 runs. But that was six years ago. Does this really make sense?

The Fit

Boyle would be viewed as an insurance policy and a faceoff winning center for the Rangers. The bottom-six center depth is more or less Brett Howden and Filip Chytil, neither of which are good at faceoffs. Boyle also comes with a reputation of being a defense-first center with some snarl.

The thing with Boyle is that well, he’s old. The defense-first center with snarl role could be held by newly signed Kevin Rooney. Rooney is nine years younger and had a better point-per-game pace than Boyle. So the fit already doesn’t seem to make sense.

Boyle would certainly add some experience and leadership qualities to the locker room. There aren’t many players on the Rangers who have “been there before.” Despite the lacking stats, there is value in having that kind of experience on the roster. The question then becomes – is that experience worth a clearly declining asset on the ice?

Also – the Rangers would need to clear a roster spot/cap space. Although that may be an easy thing to do with a simply waivers transaction.

Boyle or Rooney?

Neither Boyle nor Rooney are going to wow you offensively. But that’s not their role. Their role is limiting defensive opportunities. Boyle unfortunately hasn’t been effective in a while. Rooney, on the other hand, at the very least treads water.

The team factors in the above charts are relatively minor, since both the Devils and Panthers were bad. Both had bottom-six roles as well. In a direct comparison, Rooney is essentially the new Boyle. Minus that leadership aspect, of course.

Conclusion

The Brian Boyle to the Rangers rumor just doesn’t really pass the sniff test. Perhaps Boyle can be an emergency injury replacement on the taxi squad. Again, there is value in his experience.

For Boyle, the taxi squad role would mean being sent to the AHL, but not actually reporting. He’d get his full salary –assuming he signs a one-way deal– so that might be a good trade-off. If injuries and/or COVID-19 take their toll, he’d be a good emergency stand in. Other than that, it’s hard to find a full time role for Boyle.

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  • It was rumored about a PTO, though Boyle wants a contract. Good guy, good former ranger, I hope he gets one – just not from us!

  • Rangers aren’t pushing down Chytil or Howden to bring in Boyle — and yes, both could play the wing, but then you’re looking at bumping down other players whom I believe the Rangers have no intention sending down. So as much as like BB as a person and even a player (just a few years ago), this doesn’t really pass the sniff test.

    • I don’t see why we should be concerned about Howden. He will never be more than a bottom six player, if that. And he’s had plenty of time to show his stuff. My thinking is he competes for a spot on the team. If he gets it, fine. If not, you send him to hartford or put him on the taxi squad.

      I don’t put him in a class with Lafreniere, Kakko, Chityl, Gauthier, all of whom may be better in 2021-2022 than this year – and all of whom are potentially impact players.

      • He’s going to surprise you this season …. and so what if he’s “just” a bottom 6 player, we need 6 of them and we all see the efficacy of having competent bottom 6 players.

  • My thought is that it is a typical Larry Brooks trial balloon to get the front office to consider something he would like to see. Probably had a good relationship with Brian and also would like to see the Rangers toughen up a bit.

    Doesn’t make sense to sign a 36 year old center to compete for 4th line playing time. I think the Rangers are committed to giving Howden the first shot at the spot. If that doesn’t pan out they have Rooney as backup.

  • Face offs are clearly a problem. But in fairness to Howden, he drew around 48% the last two years and Chytil drew at around 38%. Howden isn’t the drag on the average here. I am hoping Chytil can show improvement in this area of his game. Face offs may not be everything for a center, but a 2C needs to draw better than 38%

  • Brian Boyle is a great guy and he was a good player for the team who played his role well. But I don’t see him as a fit now. Rooney is far younger and a similar player. Yes Boyle brings gravitas, but it is probably not something actually being considered.

  • Howden and Chytil are in the correct spot. Teach them how to act in face off.
    The move to make is to trade Nils Lundkvist to Carolina for Jake Bean to get better on the left side.

  • I wouldn’t call this irresponsible rumor mongering, wouldn’t even call it a rumor. It’s legit news

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