Brian Boyle: Keep or Dump?
Brian Boyle is best known for his 6’7”, 244-pound stature and his V for Vendetta playoff beard. At the age of 29, Boyle is finishing up a three-year, $5.1 million deal. Not only is Boyle working to help the Rangers make the playoffs, but he is also working to secure himself a spot on Broadway next year, as he will become a free agent at the end of the season.
Looking at Boyle’s stats with the Rangers, it is clear he peaked during the 2010-2011 season with 21 goals and 14 assists as the third-line center. In the 2011-2012 season, he registered 11 goals and 15 assists. His numbers are only declining again this season, tallying just 6 goals and 12 assists through 78 games as the fourth-line left-winger.
But do point totals tell the whole story?
Most recently, Boyle has been a part of the Rangers’ highly productive fourth line, which has played a key role in the Rangers’ success this year. He’s also been an important part of the Rangers’ excellent penalty-kill unit this season, which is sixth in the NHL. Boyle has been on the ice 43.6% of the time this season while the Rangers are short handed. The only time he has had a higher percentage of penalty kill time was during last year’s playoff run.
Boyle has been a solid defensive player, as well as essential on the face-off when Derek Stephan and Brad Richards fail to get it done. This season he has taken 780 face-offs, the only other season he took more was his 2011-2012 season taking 998 face-offs.
Additionally, he is on the ice 50.6% of the time for a defensive zone start. As his total time on the ice continues to rise with each year it shows that he more useful under Vigneaults’ system. With the regular season coming to a close and the Rangers look forward to another playoff run, hopefully Boyle can step up like he has in previous playoffs.
So, should Glen Sather keep or dump Boyle? As long as he doesn’t up his demands, I say keep him, at least for now.