New York Rangers: Brian Boyle is a X-Factor
The 2011-12 season for New York Rangers’ Brian Boyle was certainly a disappointment, after the year he had in 2010-11. In the 2010-11 season, Boyle scored a career high 21 goals and 35 points. However, this past season production dropped to 11 goals and 26 points.
While he may have struggled on the offensive end this past season, he was one of the better face-off men for the Rangers winning 52 percent of them. He was also great on the defensive end, making a big impact on the penalty kill with teammates Brandon Prust, Ruslan Fedotenko and Ryan Callahan.
With the departures of Prust and Fedotenko, Boyle will be relied on even more to kill penalties. In addition, a glaring weakness of the Rangers last year was scoring, especially secondary scoring. Boyle did not make his offensive prowess known until the playoffs, in which he scored important goals in the Ottawa Senators series. However, after that series, he did not provide offense against the Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils. While scoring should improve with the acquisition of Rick Nash, Boyle will be called on to provide scoring for the bottom six forwards of the Rangers.
Brian Boyle has proven the last couple of years that he can do the small things, such as winning face-offs, providing a solid forecheck and penalty killing. If he can be consistent on the offensive side of the ice, expect Boyle to post 40+ points, which would be a career high for the 27-year-old center.