During his nine-year career in the NHL, Brad Boyes has proven that he has a goal-scorers touch, especially if put on the right team. After signing a one-year deal last summer to play with the New York Islanders, Boyes had a pretty good year and was one of the reasons the Islanders were able to get into the playoffs.
Going into this offseason, Boyes will once again be heading towards free agency. If the Islanders are a smart team, it would be a great idea to have Boyes back in the lineup.
Last season, Boyes was playing on a line with Matt Moulson and John Tavares. Boyes had a fine season scoring 10 goals and adding in 25 assists for 35 points. Those are somewhere average numbers for a guy of Boyes’ talent. Having played nine seasons in the NHL for the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres, Boyes found a decent groove with the Islanders last year.
By far Boyes best years, scoring-wise at least, were with the Blues. Boyes was used as a playmaker when he was with the Blues, and when he was matched up with the right guys, he was able to produce in big ways. During his final year with the Sabers, Boyes played in 65 games and scored 23 points and only eight goals. Again, last year, his first season with the Islanders, he played 48 games and scored ten goals and 35 points. The reason for the difference in his play? Boyes was playing with guys in Moulson and Tavares, who complemented his style of play.
When the Islanders first picked Boyes up, it was a one-year deal for $1 million. Boyes made less last year than he did with Buffalo, and he put up the better numbers. The deal last year worked out for the Islanders because they got good results for a relatively cheap price tag. As it looks right now, Boyes may have the best bang for his buck on the market. His salary last year is around the middle of the pack among free agent right wingers. His skill level is, in my book, above that of what he is making now. There are talented free agent right wingers going on the market, as of the start of free agency on Friday. Boyes, in my book, may be the best fit right now at the right price.
Sure, there are a few good free agent wingers that wont cost the Islanders a lot of money. David Clarkson, Nathan Horton and Michael Ryder come to mind. All three are good hockey players. Just based on their styles of play and the system the Islanders are using on offense, Boyes may be the best fit on the top line at right wing at the moment.
Would it surprise me if the Islanders make a bid for some of the big-name free agent wingers this summer? No, it would not. The smartest thing the Islanders could do would be to bring Boyes back to the team, and put him back where he belongs with Tavares and Moulson on the Islanders top line.