If you’ve watched the Rangers at all this season you know that Boyle and Prust are essentially a packaged deal, this being the case it is no surprise that the article on Brian Boyle would follow that of Brandon Prust. So again like in the Prust article I can talk about how Tortorella feels as if Boyle has worked himself into the core of the Rangers, and looking at his numbers it’s hard to justify any different beliefs. However, I am part of what I’m sure is the huge minority of Rangers fans that believes Boyle is an effective third liner, but he would be better suited in a fourth line role. On a good team, Brian Boyle is on the fourth line playing anywhere from 8-10 minutes a night; for comparison, Boyle is averaging 15:25 time on ice per game. Here’s more about what you need to know about Brian Boyle
Weight: 244 lbs
Drafted: 1st round (26th overall) in 2003 by the Los Angeles Kings
NHL Experience: Currently in his 4th NHL season
Before the NHL:
Before the NHL the Massachusetts native Boyle was a high school hockey superstar for St. Sebastian’s school. It was Boyle’s three seasons there that got him an invite to play for Boston College as well as the recognition to be taken in the draft in the first round after his senior year of High School. Boyle would spend the full four years at BC really finding his role as a player in his Junior and Senior seasons when the scoring became to come. In those two seasons Boyle recorded 105 points for BC in 82 games.
The Kings decided to continue Boyle’s development by sending him to the AHL after his four years at BC. In Boyle’s first season in the AHL it appeared that he was going to be very successful. In 70 AHL games Boyle recorded 31 goals and 31 assists which was good enough to earn him an 8 game stint with the Kings where he recorded 4 goals and 1 assist. However the 08-09 season was a less then stellar one for Boyle. His NHL numbers were not what they should have been in this stage of his development and he was given another stint in the AHL where he only recorded 10 goals and 11 assists in 42 games.
Boyle has never represented the United States in any major tournament.
As noted above in Boyle’s first 8 game call up with the Kings in the 07-08 season was a very excited one where he recorded 4 goals and 1 assist in 8 games. However Boyle’s NHL career would take a nose dive. In 28 games that Boyle played in in the 08-09 season he was only able to record 4 goals and 1 assist, equaling his total from his first 8 NHL games. These would be the last 28 games that Boyle would play in Los Angeles.
Boyle would be traded on Draft day 2009 for a third round selection in the 2010 NHL draft to the New York Rangers.
Boyle’s first season with the Rangers saw him manning the fourth line and grinding out game after game for 71 contests and producing 4 goals and 2 assists.
When it came time for training camp before the 2010-2011 season Brian Boyle saw himself in the competition for the fourth line center spot between himself, Todd White, and Time Kennedy. Boyle was able to beat the other two players who are now playing for the Connecticut Whale and he has blossomed since then.
Outlook 2010-2011 and Beyond:
This is a really tough case for me, well first let’s discuss Boyle’s successes so far this season. This season has been a major one in terms of development for Brian Boyle. He was able to grow from fourth line center to centering one of John Tortorella’s most effective lines this season for the Rangers including his linemates Ruslan Fedotenko and of course Brandon Prust. And in just the first 47 games this season Boyle has recorded 15 goals and 8 assists; eclipsing his previous career totals of 12 goals and 4 assists. This is why understanding what I’m about to talk about, Boyle’s future, is going to be difficult to comprehend.
Nothing in his game shows me anything that he is capable of handling a top 6 role in the NHL, and this is a problem to me because that’s exactly what Tortorella has been using Boyle for this season. He is consistently seeing more ice time then the struggling superstar Marian Gaborik [perhaps Gaborik is struggling due to limited playing time?]. He’s being used in all situations including the power play, however Boyle and his line only usually see the ends of power plays. He’s being used too much in my opinion. Even with his impressive stat totals I see Boyle as no more then a third or fourth line grinder who can play the PK and be used in defensive situations. Tortorella is doing this with Boyle this season however it’s the other situations that Boyle is being used in that intrigue me. For instance I don’t think Boyle should sniff the ice in overtime or at any point during a power play, Tortorella begs to differ. It’s just my opinion that there is a severe lack of pure skill and offensive IQ that will hamper Boyle’s abilities in the offensive zone.
Boyle will be a RFA this coming off-season. This isn’t his entry level contract so I believe that Boyle will be arbitration eligible. This may be Boyle’s downfall with the Rangers as you know how Sather likes to hardball his RFA’s (see: Brandon Dubinsky). Depending on the arbitration award (you better believe Boyle is going to arbitration with the #s he’s putting up this season) Sather will either walk or accept the award. You have to think like Sather though here. This season of Boyle’s so far is just a flash in the pan, and who knows how the rest of the season will play out for Boyle. Callahan and Prospal return to the lineup and Boyle’s role diminishes, hopefully to the point of where he should be used.
The rest of this season and the beginning of the off-season (obviously) will be a very telling moment in Boyle’s future with this organization. I have to say I would not be surprised if Sather walks away from Boyle’s arbitration award seeing that the Rangers have a plethora of bottom 6 capable players waiting in the pipe line. Either way, it should be a good show for the fans.
About the Author
Written by Adam Gavriel