In a New York Rangers inter-squad scrimmage yesterday in preparing for the team’s first preseason game in Newark against the New Jersey Devils, Brian Boyle scored two goals in said scrimmage as he is fighting for his Rangers life, in my opinion.
In 38 out of 48 games last season, Boyle scored two goals and had three assists — not worth the $1.7 million he is making, and the Rangers front office knows this.
With restricted free agent center Derek Stepan still not signed to a new contract with the Blueshirts, GM Glen Sather may be forced to dump Boyle’s salary to make room for Stepan, as the Rangers currently only have $2.181 million left to spend with the salary cap.
Stepan was the Rangers’ no. 1 center last season as he played in every game and totaled 22 goals and 27 assists (regular and postseason). It is quite obvious that Stepan needs to be on the roster for the Rangers to succeed this upcoming season. This is something that cannot be said about Boyle. He is not that type of player as he doesn’t have quite that type of effect on a team, which makes him a complimentary player at best.
Because of this, I believe that Boyle has to seriously impress this preseason and play many games like he did in yesterday’s scrimmage in order to save his job with the Rangers. Simply put, he must force Sather to explore other options to get Stepan under contract.
However, there is a still a strong possibility though that even with a good preseason, Boyle will still be on the move to fit Stepan under the cap. But if he does indeed impress in September, it certainly wouldn’t hurt Boyle’s chances to be playing for the Rangers in October.
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