Much attention goes to the top selection in each year’s NHL draft, but rarely do late picks get recognition. There are several reasons for this, including less talent and minimal production through their hockey career or their physical limits. One player who fits this mold is Washington Capitals forward prospect, Travis Boyd.
Boyd, 19, was selected by Washington in the 2011 NHL entry draft with the 177th overall pick and currently plays for the Minnesota Gophers of the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association). The 19 year old collegiate center is set to begin his season with the Gophers, looking to increase his offensive production following a nine point season last year in Minnesota.
He may be a small player, but his greatest asset might be his ability to win face-offs. During his freshman with the Gophers, Boyd won 11 of 12 face-offs against St. Cloud State and 9 of 15 face-offs against Wisconsin. He seemed to be a clutch player in his first year with Minnesota, scoring his first career goal in the NCAA West Regional championship game against North Dakota.
When drafted by Washington in the 2011 NHL entry draft, the Capitals never signed Boyd to a contract like many teams do to players intending to play college hockey. It’s still unclear how long the sophomore center will play for the Gophers, but he will likely play a full four years like fellow Washington Capitals prospect, Patrick Wey.
Following four years at Minnesota, the Capitals will likely sign Boyd to an entry level contract and he could begin his first season in professional hockey with Washington’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.
Boyd projects to be a bottom six forward, possibly a fourth line center that can win face-offs and help on the penalty kill. He’ll likely spend a few seasons in the minors, but with years of development Boyd can be a reliable defensive forward.
Boyd plans to major in business at the University of Minnesota along with his efforts to become an NHL player one day.