So the Islanders first choice for a forward to start off the 2012 free agency was Brad Boyes. Brad Boyes? Really?! Why not just resign P.A Parenteau? Why Boyes when Alexander Semin was still available?!! I’ll give you four reasons: One, the ongoing reality is that the Islanders are still developing the franchise and don’t want another four to five year, big money free agent contract at that right wing position when Brad Boyes can put up decent numbers at a fraction of the cost. Second, he’s a short term fix. You’re looking at a player who is only under contract for a year. If Boyes gets put on that first line with Tavares and Moulson, I think Islanders fans are going to witness something special.
Third, Boyes isn’t really replacing Parenteau’s numbers. That’s why the Isles traded for Lubomir Visnovsky. Take a look at Visnovsky and his numbers here. He’s a powerplay guy, and can produce similar numbers to Parenteau. But the Islanders now have two scoring defensemen in Mark Streit and Visnovsky which will improve the powerplay. Look for both to improve on their own numbers from last year which should take care of Parenteau’s scoring past. If that doesn’t, Boyes can also score on the power play. Thirty percent of his goals have been from the PP.
But here’s the fourth and most important point. It will essentially keep Nino Niederreiter in the minors, at least the beginning of the season, where he belongs. For now I would say at least the first ten games. Fans don’t get me wrong; I think El Nino will be an Islander full time, just doesn’t have to be now. The Islanders are close to rebuilt in terms of prospects, but unless you’re going to think like “Mad Mike Milbury” and trade them away before they are developed, I’d rather take my chances and see what this team has first then lose in the first round of the playoffs and think “What if?” Yes, the Isles have talent, but it’s unproven. Let them earn there way to the big club first and show what they are capable of before they either play for the Islanders or get traded.
Brad Boyes will be a positive stop-gap until Niederreiter is ready for an NHL spot. That’s all he is fans. I’ll go on record now and say if Boyes scores 10-15 goals before Christmas, don’t be surprised if he’s resigned for one more year by the Islanders, just like Parenteau did two years ago. He could be that good on the ice as well as a positive in the dressing room. He’s a low risk high reward just like Moulson and Grabner were so give him a shot. But If Nino is ready for the NHL after this season, then the Isles will have another core player that this team is still trying to build.